“Online casinos from Nevada could capture 15 percent of the market and add more than $230 million to state tax revenues.”
Things in Vegas have been hopping since online gambling got the provisional green light, and this past week was no different. The Nevada Gaming Commission, which is ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not to go ahead, met with industry experts to learn more about the ups and downs of Internet wagering.
The first issue to hit the table was the potential revenue from Net betting. According to gambling analysts, Christiansen Capital Advisors, Vegas casino operators would actually be better off launching online casinos than expanding their brick-and-mortar ventures.
“We’ve recently seen a decline in return on investment in Las Vegas casinos,” said company representative Sebastian Sinclair. He estimated that a land-based casino could launch its own site for approximately $20 million.
Sinclair went on to say that online casinos from Nevada could capture 15 percent of the Internet gaming market and add more than $230 million to state tax revenues between 2003 and 2005.
Interestingly, analysts also predict that the number of gambling and sportsbook sites will decline in coming years due to industry consolidation. This would likely open the door for big-name Vegas casinos and facilitate cross-marketing opportunities between land-based and online ventures.
But is it Safe?
One of the largest issues facing the Online Casino Singapore gaming commission has been security. Can they keep the kids off casino sites, can they block gamblers from certain jurisdictions, and can they protect people’s financial information?
James Sargent, senior consultant at BMM Australia didn’t do much to put the regulators minds’ at ease, saying, “There’s no such thing as an absolutely secure site.”
The commission was told that casino sites are susceptible to everything from money laundering to credit card and identity theft and sabotage from hackers. “It sounds like constant warfare,” commented commission chair Brian Sandoval. Not surprisingly, Sandoval was not convinced that the necessary levels of security currently exist.
Tom Gallagher, president of Park Place Entertainment Corp., suggested that “Until the public and the gaming industry feels confident with Internet controls and safeguards, we should focus on those issues rather than pushing casino-style gambling into millions of homes that may not want it.”
Obviously, the commission has a lot to deal with before it can approve and regulate Internet gaming. But the main stumbling points it faces aren’t security or regulations; it remains the U.S. government’s position on online gambling.
According to Sandoval, “The biggest issue for us is not so much minors or jurisdictional blocking,” Sandoval said. “The biggest issue is the legality of the activity. The [Nevada] bill has a clause that says we can’t allow for online gaming in Nevada until we know for sure that it is OK from a federal standpoint.”
And until that time, nothing is going to happen very quickly. “We aren’t going to jump into this right away,” said Sandoval. “We aren’t going to go ahead and then have the federal government come down months later and start indicting our licensees. We don’t want to put their Las Vegas interests at risk for the sake of the Internet.”