New York and Maryland are considered the most likely online casino adopters for the 2019 season

While legal online casino gambling has brought in far more tax revenue than sports betting in the six states where it operates, the former discipline lags far behind the latter in nationwide penetration. Fears about cannibalization of the retail casino product remain, as do concerns about a possible rise in problem gambling.

Could 2024 finally be the year mobile casino apps gain serious momentum? Don’t bet on it, although that doesn’t mean there won’t be progress. As Howard Glaser, head of government affairs at Light & Wonder, noted at the annual Global Gaming Expo (G2E) last October, the post-COVID tap of direct payments to states is about to be turned off, which could force some lawmakers to “iGaming “take it out of the drawer” to prevent budget deficits.

At G2E, Glaser said that “more than half of US states with land-based gaming will also have iGaming in the next five to seven years,” and he is among three industry insiders – the others being Entain Foundation trustee Martin Lycka and Bill Pascrell III – who shared their thoughts on what lies ahead for the industry in 2024 and beyond.

Below is a collection of their remarks, lightly edited for length and clarity:

US betting: Which states do you think will take significant steps to legalize iCasino in 2024, and are there any states that do you think will pass laws greenlighting this form of gambling by the end of 2024?

Martin Lycka: New York, Maryland and Illinois, which all have legal sports betting and have already shown some legislative movement on iCasino, are likely candidates for further progress in 2024.

Bill Pascrell III: Sen. Addabbo’s leadership at iCasino in New York has been incredible and his efforts are sure to make a difference in 2024. The benefits for New York are clear, and iCasino will be legalized in the Empire State – it’s just a matter of when.

Howard Glaser: The landscape is definitely a challenge. Some states that were expecting a move have some internal issues that will not be conducive to iGaming adoption, such as Indiana and Iowa. The best prospects for exercise in 2024 are New York, Maryland and Louisiana. Both New York and Maryland have budget gaps; Louisiana has a new governor and a very strong industry. Does this mean they are reaching the finish line? Not necessarily. There are headwinds that iGaming faces in general and some that are specific to these states.

US betting: Which states – as Howard mentioned, Indiana comes to mind – have been Clubhouse favorites in recent years to pass iCasino legislation but have failed to do so, and what headwinds have prevented these states from crossing the finish line?

Lycka: Indiana is a prime example, in part because the state has failed to pass any proposed legislation for three years in a row. Among the biggest headwinds these states face are misconceptions about iCasino, particularly that it will harm brick-and-mortar casinos (which it doesn’t) and that the black market is not a threat to iCasino that people are worried about should do (that is the case). ) and that iCasino is uniquely addictive and dangerous compared to sports betting (it’s not).

Pascrell: New York was disappointing but not surprising. The iCasino industry is still facing strong resistance, largely due to fears about the impact iCasino will have on bettors and brick-and-mortar casino operators. I am very confident that as each additional state adopts iCasino and reaps the benefits of iCasino, and as we continue to educate legislators and casino operators on the issue, we will see progress – not just in New York, but across the country.

US betting: A hotly contested argument is that iCasino limits brick-and-mortar revenue, even though credible data shows this is not the case. What does the industry need to convince legislators and critics that the two can coexist beneficially?

Glazier: Concerns remain about the impact on land-based gambling. This is largely not supported by the evidence, but there is certainly some volatility in the data. All of these states have made significant investments in brick-and-mortar casinos. While the online presence in the casino sector does not have a negative impact, this has been seen in other areas too: when an industry goes online, retail suffers.

Go to a mall over the holidays. There are no queues because people can shop online. But you have to show the legislature that this is not the case with online casinos. It increases the customer base. If you have a digital channel, this is a winning combination. If you imagine a scenario where digital gambling no longer exists in five to seven years, there is no doubt that casinos will suffer. There is simply too much digital entertainment.

We have very good evidence points from the states that are mature in this area, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Both states have seen steady growth since the launch of iGaming. This is a story we need to bring to light. This is a particular problem in New York and Maryland, which are Union states.

Pascrell: The statistical argument for iCasino doesn’t tell the whole story. As we educate lawmakers and critics about iCasino, we must present a vision of what a legal, regulated iCasino state looks like and why it benefits everyone involved. This vision must outline the role of operators in protecting customers, the demographic changes that wealthy brick-and-mortar and iCasino operators can enable, and the ability of new iCasino laws to benefit taxpayers, industry and bettors alike.

Lycka: The data from legal iCasino states may seem incredulous to critics who cannot understand how enabling casino gambling on mobile phones does not stop people from visiting brick-and-mortar casinos. But the reason is simple: people visit casinos for the experience, which cannot be replicated on a mobile device. States with legal, regulated iCasino have not seen a decline in casino foot traffic – not only because those who visit casinos want to continue to do so, but because iCasino increases the overall popularity of casino betting, which is a benefit to existing operators benefits.

US betting: What about the argument that iCasino represents a more addictive form of online gambling than sports betting? Whether or not that is actually the case, how do you defuse such an argument?

Pascrell: Unlike gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos, iCasino offers a wide range of security measures and player protection tools to ensure player safety. By legalizing iCasino, we can better educate and protect bettors than if we limited casino gambling to brick-and-mortar locations.

Lycka: There is no evidence that iCasino is more addictive than other forms of gambling, such as. B. Sports betting. I suspect that a lot of the concern about iCasino comes from the dramatic scenes depicted in films about hapless players in smoke-filled casinos – and that’s just not reality.

Glazier: One of the most powerful tools we have is to show, not just tell, what protections are available to consumers. The iCasino and sports betting programs require user registration, giving you a much greater chance of providing protection in a much easier manner than would be the case with a brick and mortar casino. When you enter a brick-and-mortar casino, you are essentially anonymous. When you go online, there is a different level of protection. And you cannot ignore the fact that online gambling is accessible in all states that have not legalized iGaming. What is the case for maintaining an illegal market that rampantly exploits consumers?

US betting: While states like Michigan and New York have casino industries that offer a mix of tribal and commercial interests, tribal control in western states like California is more monopolistic. What do you think could be the ideal process for creating an Indian-run iCasino market and how lucrative could it be for different tribes?

Glazier: If the Seminoles had their way, there would certainly be iGaming in Florida. The reluctance is somewhat greater in the western states, where there are exclusive tribal games and commercial companies want to enter the casino market. Obviously this happened in California last year and continues to happen. For a section of the casino industry to enter a sovereign market was extraordinarily ridiculous. This conflict has slowed down the process.

If the tribes are ready and have a clear path forward, it will be one of the most profitable ventures for Indian tribes since land-based gambling. They just want to do it right. It is more likely that the trading states will have priority.

Lycka: An Indian-led iCasino market, if implemented properly, has huge potential to be lucrative for the tribes. As long as the market is well-regulated, transparent, and appeals to a broad audience, tribes can expect a robust revenue stream that provides well-deserved support to their communities.

Pascrell: Collaboration is at the heart of every Indian-run gaming market, be it iCasino or elsewhere. We must emphasize the importance of tribal sovereignty, create a regulatory framework that includes tribal gaming commissions and regulators, follow a process that allows for negotiations and compromise between tribes and states, and develop fair and transparent revenue sharing agreements. Any move to implement an India-controlled iCasino market without collaboration will fail.

Photo: Sina Schuldt/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

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