In the finale of our SlotBeats Spotlight series look into the US and the evolution of online slots, we asked our experts the all important question regarding the future of online slots across America, will more states, which allow sports betting, begin to integrate and enhance more online slots.
Moving forward, will we see more states which allow sports betting start to introduce and promote more online slots and what impact would this have on the land-based sector?
Jeff Miller, Evolution: That is certainly our hope and expectation – and the signs are good in a number of states. The opportunity to regulate the online industry and benefit from the taxation that would bring will be tempting for a number of jurisdictions as we look to emerge from the pandemic. But there will clearly be a pressing need to balance that with social responsibility.
Given that we are already seeing that a significant number of the operators going live online are existing land-based ones, I can only imagine that it will be beneficial to that side of the industry. After all, the opportunity to offer their players an omni-channel experience, and not just one that is being tied to their physical presence on the property, has to be the forward-thinking approach.
Vladimir Pavlov, Pariplay: Adding the casino vertical is crucial for operators, as it provides additional opportunities for acquisition, cross-sell and overall EBITDA growth. The lack of sports at the beginning of the pandemic led to an increase in slot gameplay, which remained steady even after sports returned.
Operators who offer both will have a great advantage over sports betting only ones. Land-based casinos are in a very tough spot right now, with major limitations and significantly reduced revenues.
As I see it, they have two main avenues for growth: focus on providing extraordinary customer service and entertainment in their properties; and starting/expanding their digital operations aggressively across regulated states. We’ve already seen this with a plethora of M&A activity from Penn National, Wynn, Caesars and Bally among others.
Jesper Kärrbrink, Green Jade Games: Today 15 states allow online gambling but only six of these allow online casinos. Another one to three states will probably regulate online casinos this year and another 20 states are looking at regulated gambling in the coming years.
My view is that since online casinos have been successful in the first six states, most of the states where sports betting is allowed will follow, even if it might take some time.