Igaming expansion has been the missing piece on industry stakeholders’ bingo cards this year, with no movement on the legislative front in 2023. However, a star-studded lineup at SBC Summit North America was upbeat about the future of igaming in the US, enthusiastic about legalization efforts, as well as product development and bottom line figures.
Gambling expansion hasn’t been rife in 2023, with sports betting bills getting through in Kentucky and Vermont this year, whilst no online casino action is to be seen.
However, Christian Genetski, President of FanDuel, explained that online casino expansion is inevitable moving forward.
Genetski told an audience at the Meadowlands Expo Center: “I think we’re getting to the point now where you’re gonna start to see more of an expansion of igaming and the makeup of certain states where there’s an appetite for sports betting where igaming is going to be much slower thing.
“There are states in the south that don’t have land-based casinos and haven’t traditionally been involved with gaming, but there are a number of states where there are online sports betting states learning how to regulate online gaming, and they have land-based casinos. They see the benefits, the revenue benefits, and tax benefits of igaming.”
Genetski was joined on the ‘How Long Until iGaming Emerges From The Sports Betting Shadow?’ panel by Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM, Richard Schwartz, CEO of Rush Street Interactive, whilst the panel was moderated by Bragg CEO Yaniv Sherman.
Citing that legisltors are going from assessing the risks of igaming expansion to the potential revenue generation available, the panelists were eager to ensure that, if and when online casino expansion arrives in the US, operators are there to take advantage and make the most of it.
Sherman posited that the impact of the UK gambling White Paper, which has introduced tighter regulation of the industry, could spill over to the US when online casino is introduced.
Describing himself as a “free marketeer”, Greenblatt explained: “Our challenge, as an industry as lawmakers and as people who have an interest in the growth and sustainability, critical sustainability of the sector, is that unless we proactively manage the journey in a responsible way, it will happen to us.
“It happened in Italy, it’s happening with failures in Belgium. There are lots of examples where as a result of inaction and a lack of proactivity on the part of the leading operators, the sector crashes into contraction lawmakers.”
Nevertheless, despite regulatory concerns, online casino offers a significant opportunity to operators who are seeking to tip over the profitability line. While BetMGM and FanDuel are nearing profitability this year, other operators would have much healthier bottom line figures if they could switch on the online casino tap in more states.
Schwartz explained the opportunity that online casino offers operators, with the opportunity to cross-sell sports betting and igaming leading to far more valuable customers in the short and long term.
The CEO of RSI told the audience: “A casino player to us is worth 5.3 times more than a sportsbook player, but a player who is going to combine both is 14 times more valuable than a sports-only player.
“It shows you that economics really work when you do like a cross-sell. When you have a larger share of sports with players, you have a larger audience to cross-sell. We are going to cross-sell them to a lot of table games, and there will be players to also play slots among that.”
The panel also delved into several other key topics relating to the development of online casino, including the Ontario market, where igaming is a large part of operators offering and could offer a glimpse into further US markets, as well as product development and new technologies such as the metaverse.