GBGC makes its gambling predictions for the USA, Europe and other jurisdictions in 2016. 2016 is a presidential election year in the USA.
1. 2016 is a presidential election year. Hilary Clinton is the favourite to win the Democratic nomination and Donald Trump just might get the Republican nomination. Trump has owned and run casinos. Trump is a proponent of legalized online gaming: “It has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the U.S. is just missing out,” Trump told Forbes in 2011. But he is 9/2 to actually become President.
The clear Republican favourite is Marco Rubio. He is opposed to internet gambling and close to Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands.
Prediction: my prediction is a there will be no change in Federal law and little progress on major states to introduce legislation allowing internet gambling.
2. Las Vegas is still struggling with Strip EBITDA running 28% below 2008. Chronic over supply of properties will weigh heavily as global economy remains sluggish. My prediction is that in 2016, nine years on from the crisis, Las Vegas will still not be back to its 2007 peak.
1. There have been seventeen tax increases across Europe for gambling this last eighteen months. Coupled with regulation, operators (either land based or Internet) are searching for evaporated profits. I called for the harmonisation of technical standards at MiGS 2015 in the vain hope something would be done to mitigate operators’ costs. My prediction, no progress in this area in 2016.
1. When Brits think of Cyprus they think of their holidays in the Greek sector. Further north there is Turkish occupied Cyprus. Cyprus recently announced the names of companies wishing to bid for the resort casino licence.
1. The uplift in Macau revenues will not take place until the 42 kilometre Zhuhai Bridge connecting Macau with China and Hong Kong has been built. It was scheduled to be completed in 2016 but is delayed another year. The potential of an all out smoking ban in the casinos would be disastrous for Macau if players have to go outside to smoke. The distance from the gaming floor to the casino entrance is a very long way. My prediction is that in 2016 Macau revenues will stabilise at a lower level than today. The Zhuhai Bridge is the key to growth.
1. Africa continues to grow and there are over one million Chinese living in Africa. Betting shops or betting points have opened in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Internet via mobile will be seeing growth in 2016 admittedly from a low basis but all markets start from somewhere. (See GBGC’s Africa sports betting report)
1. The major OECD countries are making life very difficult for the offshore jurisdictions. There is more compliance and regulation and their economies are starting to suffer as a consequence.
Anonymous websites will begin to plunder the legitimate market unless the authorities employ a lot of inspectors. Hardly likely when most Government departments are facing cuts, not expansion. Besides, the tax authorities take account of ‘shrinkage’ when imposing taxes.
My prediction is that start ups and some established operators will be unable to afford the cost of regulation, tax and licence fees and will license in the Caribbean islands either through one licence or various onshore and offshore licences each tailored to suit the target country.