2015 is going to be another year of frustration. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada continue to disappoint. If they had proved a success then other states would have been spurred into action. Sheldon Adelson has now been joined by Steve Wynn in opposition to internet gambling. Mr Adelson is a big contributor to the Republican Party, Governor Christie (Republican) is unlikely to go against a big donor and the Republicans have both Houses on Capitol Hill. Sports betting in New Jersey is, therefore, a long shot for 2015. As for California e-gaming regulation, we live in hope rather than expectation.
Lotteries will finally take the plunge and use Internet to sell tickets, a move that if promoted properly will enhance revenues to the states.
Atlantic City has had a tough time of it. There has to be fewer casinos as competition from neighbouring states increases. There is talk about creating a non-gaming resort development and the US is very good at regeneration projects. The weather in Atlantic City is not ideal – cold in winter, wet in autumn. Big investments require visitors throughout the year. Is this an opportunity for a JV with a casino company and the Europe-based Centre Parks to develop one of its big park vacation destinations?
Las Vegas is off the bottom and moving forward as the city continues its move toward non-gaming activities. We see the China VIP gambler moving from Macau to Vegas where there is more much more entertainment on offer and less scrutiny from Beijing. Vegas now has direct flights to Beijing.
The fall in horse racing handle has stopped thanks to betting on machines that offer pre-recorded horse races. Given the success I would expect more states to follow the lead provided by Arkansas, Oregon, Wyoming, Kentucky and Idaho. Time will tell whether the machines will cannibalise the pure horse racing product, so far it has not.