My friend Howard Stutz has covered the casino business for decades (he spent years in the Las Vegas Review-Journal before Sheldon Adelson bought the paper and ruined it). Howard’s work is always worth reading. He now writes for The Nevada Independent.
Howard published an interesting article today about California’s recent vote to legalize sports betting. This raises several questions. I open the discussion here. READ: California Sports Betting: Race or Odds for Nevada?
Let’s take a very general thesis:
*Casino gambling has reached saturation point.*
With the exception of a few remote states like Texas, casino gambling is now legal in almost all areas of the state. Even states where gambling is restricted are within reach of states with casinos, online betting, and sports betting. So most people travel to gambling destinations. Expanding gambling now boils down to “add another glass of water to the soup”. In other words, it doesn’t increase the consumer base (the weather). Instead, it watered it.
Second, let’s take the specific case of legalizing sports betting in California and discuss the consequences:
“California gambling legalization (and other forms of expansion)” will/will cannibalize casinos in Nevada.*
A significant percentage of tourism in Nevada (population 3 million) comes from California (population 39 million). As more and more casinos (and sports books) expand in California, Nevada casinos are going to take a big hit.
Well, here’s another opinion:
Based on many previous examples of gambling expansion, almost all examples of fears that casinos have reached saturation point are unfounded:
– Many unlucky people claim that Las Vegas was too developed at some stage in its history, but all these fears have proven to be unfounded.
– The poker hall initially hated online poker sites, for fear that competition would damage their business. On the contrary, online poker proved to be a place of introduction and training for millions of loyal poker players who later found themselves drawn to B/M casinos.
– Gambling advocates now say the market is saturated, especially in Nevada and New Jersey. Adding more sports betting points will not expand the market. This will make it easier, they say.
So this is a brief summary of both sides of the argument put forward by the Howard Stutz report.
I welcome the thought of anyone wishing to provide an opinion on IF and WHEN casino gambling (and sports betting) will reach a point where expansion is no longer practical.