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Posted by on Mar 21, 2022 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas | 0 comments

Has Casino Gambling Reached a Saturation Point?



My friend Howard Stutz has been covering the casino business for decades (he spent many years with the Las Vegas Review-Journal before Sheldon Adelson bought the newspaper and ruined it). Howard’s work is always worth reading. He now writes for The Nevada Independent.

Howard posted an interesting article today about California soon voting on legalizing sports betting. This prompts some questions. I’m opening the discussion here. READ: California sports betting: Competition or opportunity for Nevada?

First, let’s take a very general thesis:

*Casino gambling has already reached a saturation point.*

Aside from a few backwater states like Texas, casino gambling is now legal in virtually all regions of the country. Even states where gambling is restricted are within reach of states that have casinos, online betting, and sports betting. So, most people are within commuting distance of a gambling destination. Gambling expansion now amounts to “adding another cup of water to the soup.” In other words, it doesn’t grow the consumer (gambler) base. Rather it dilutes it.

Second, let’s take the specific case of sports gambling being legalized in California and discuss the impacts:

“California’s legalization of sports gambling (and other forms of expansion)” would/will cannibalize Nevada’s casinos.*

A significant percentage of Nevada’s (population 3 million) tourism comes from California (population 39 million). If more casinos (and sports gambling) spreads throughout California, Nevada’s casinos will take a major hit.

Now, here’s the dissenting opinion:

Based on many past examples of gambling expansion, almost all instances of the fear that casinos had reached a saturation point were unfounded:

— Many detractors argued Las Vegas overbuilt at certain stages in its history, but all of those fears proved to be wrong.

— Brick and mortar poker rooms initially hated online poker sites, fearing the competition would kill their business. To the contrary, online poker proved to be an introduction and a training ground for creating millions of loyal poker players who later gravitated into B/M casinos.

— Sports gambling advocates are now arguing the market is saturated, particularly in Nevada and New Jersey. Adding more sports betting outlets won’t grow the market. It will dilute it, they say.

So, that’s a short summation of both sides of the argument triggered by Howard Stutz’s report.

I welcome thoughts from anyone who wishes to share an opinion as to IF and WHEN casino gambling (and sports betting) will reach a point where expansion is no longer viable.


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