Las Vegas this week hosts one of the US major gambling expos, which mostly focuses on land gambling. G2E gathers a number of industry giants, and interviews execs, who expressed the stand that political interference may be the main reason why the US is behind the times when it comes to online developments.
Aegir Saevarsson of Betware Iceland stated that "Everybody here is losing business if they don't have an online presence," adding that gambling should go where the player goes, and that online gambling’s popularity is immense, attracting more and more people to play on mobile devices, including iPhone.
This statement was reported by 8 News Now, which also stated that gamblers worldwide are using laptops and phones to buy lottery tickets, bet sports, play poker, blackjack and slots with real money, even though the States occupy an adverse position, by banning all financial transactions related to online gambling. However, considering the advocates on both State and Federal level for the legalization of gambling, the current state of matter will soon change.
According to American Gaming Association's Judy Patterson, who in an interview to 8 News Now seemed to be positive about change, "There's traditionally been a reluctance to expand gaming in the United States and this is probably just another example of it."
On the other hand, Bryan Kelly of slot machine manufacturer Bally Technologies said: "Everything that the [land] casino wants to market to you today that we can do here, we can now do on your mobile device."
It was assessed by a Konami provider company spokesman that the mobile apps can be used for employees to track players and for players to track their winnings, even scanning vouchers on the floor. Also, a gaming analyst Bill Lerner thinks that land casinos should go online, even if Americans are blocked, saying that "These [established US land gambling casinos] are trusted gaming brands." This type of respectful reputation implies that after a punter's trip to Vegas land casinos, money can still be earned by developing an online continuation of service.
Saevarsson considers that all land casinos have an interest in introducing an online facility which will extend its relationship with players beyond the usually brief physical visit.
Based on Associated Press reports from G2E, there are some impressive new slots on display, such as "big, flashy" Batman-inspired "The Dark Knight," ''Wheel of Fortune" and "The Hangover," and they all attracted significant attention.
One land slot manufacturer commented: "We actually think at some point sometime in the next three or four quarters, somebody's going to want to take that first move or advantage [to order the new slots], and then everything cascades from there. The challenge for us is we can't predict when that is."
Frank Fahrenkopf, the CEO of the American Gaming Association, reported the results of his group's annual, nonscientific survey, which indicated more pessimism about recovery among casino professionals than last year regarding business recuperating to pre-2008 levels within the next two years. According to him, around two-thirds of survey respondents said the highest growth in the [land] industry during the next 10 years will come in Asia.
In addition, the examinees also found that in the next 10 years, the biggest effect on the industry will be caused online gambling and server-based slot machine games.
In March this year, Fahrenkopf's trade association changed its negative position and transferred on the side which supports online gambling. However, it has not stood behind any of several bills that are currently undergoing the approval process in the Congress.
Fahrenkopf further claimed he was not familiar whether any of the online bills will forward this year, but added that he doesn't think it will come during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.
In terms of land gambling revenues, they noted a growth of 1.3 percent in Q3 2010, exceeding $8 billion, which is about $100 million more than in the same period in 2009, he explained.
"The impact of the recession has been deeper, and the recovery slower than nearly everyone predicted. Consumer discretionary spending has been significantly depressed throughout most of the year, which means that the gaming industry, and others like it, have continued to struggle," Fahrenkopf said.
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