For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven

In this weeks’ Green Felt Journal, I consider whether a “slow” rollout of online gaming in the U.S. is such a bad thing:

Beyond the neon of Nevada and Atlantic City, gaming used to be something the nation spoke about in either whispers like that cousin who never made good or screams like that cousin who never made good and was coming to town to spoil your sister’s wedding. Now, though, online gaming is the subject of serious—and generally calm—discussion. Some bemoan its potential negative effects; others lament the meager trickle of revenues to date. Still others offer both, seemingly contradictory, reactions. But the real news is that there hasn’t been much to either complain or crow about: The rollout of online play has been largely uneventful—and that’s a good thing.

via For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven.

The fact that online gaming has been running in the U.S. for over a year–even at a small scale–is, I think, a pretty interesting story.


The Online Gaming Debate: Not So Fast, Congress | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I propose a possible solution to the current schism between pro- and anti-online gaming forces in Congress (and the gaming industry):

With both sides ratcheting up their lobbying, though, it seems that Congress is painting itself into a corner without a way forward or compromise that will satisfy everyone.

But maybe there is.

via The Online Gaming Debate: Not So Fast, Congress | Vegas Seven.

I think this column could have been a few thousand words if I had the print space available (I don’t). The more I think about it, the more sensible another national look at gambling’s impact seems.

What’s more, this study could also include credit play (and collection of credit) which is another issue currently in the news thanks to FinCEN’s proposal to force casino to vet the sources of high rollers’ funds. (For more about FinCEN, see my previous Green Felt Journal.)

The nature of gambling in the United States has changed remarkably since National Gambling Impact Study wrapped up in 1999. Online gaming is the most obvious difference, but the shift in where Las Vegas casinos make their money (increasingly, it’s international high rollers) is another change that has profound implications.

Everyone debating the nature of gambling today has something to gain from an in-depth study. With no clear direction presenting itself to Congress and a crying need for solid information, a new national study commission makes perfect sense.


Caesars’ Changing Empire | Vegas Seven

Here is my latest in Vegas Seven, about two Caesars transactions that, I think, augur the future:

It’s no secret that both online and social gaming are growing; millions of people play “for free” each day, and at least 10 states—including California and Texas—are mulling the legalization of straight-up online gambling. The two transactions show the evolution of the way Americans play—and the way Las Vegas-based gaming companies make money.

via Caesars’ Changing Empire | Vegas Seven.

Once, the industry’s growth was in geographic expansion in the U.S. Now it seems that expansion online–in both money games and social–is the real growth segment–for now, at least.


Prohibition not the right answer for online gaming in Las Vegas Review-Journal

This morning, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an op-ed piece I wrote about the ultimate futility of online gaming prohibition:

The nation faces a dangerously seductive form of gambling, as cross-border, high tech telecommunications networks threaten to siphon money out of homes across the country. The problem is getting worse, and the states, with the constitutional mandate to regulate gambling within their borders, are indifferent or worse. The only solution is for Congress to act now.It took years, but Congress eventually did — in 1907

via Prohibition not the right answer for online gaming | Las Vegas Review-Journal.

I’d like the chance to write about this some more–it’s nice to draw on the research I did for Cutting the Wire.


Online island pioneer

The small island nation of Antigua capitalized on online gaming by encouraging early sports betting sites to set up business there. Like earlier resource-poor jurisdictions such as Monte Carlo and Nevada, it hoped to leverage its tolerance of gambling into substantial development.

To learn more about the early days of online gaming, see Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.


Poker’s Perilous Perch in Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I take a look at where poker stands in September 2012. On one hand, live poker’s been on the decline for a few years. On the other, online poker is, some feel, going to transform the state’s economy. Here’s where we are:

Nevada poker is in an odd place. On one hand, poker room revenues have declined by 21 percent since 2007, and several casinos have downsized or closed their poker rooms, including the Tropicana on Sept. 11 . On the other hand, some are counting on online poker to revitalize Nevada’s gaming industry. As summer slides into fall and we get ready for online poker to go live next month, where is poker in the Silver State heading?

via Poker’s Perilous Perch | Vegas Seven

.I have a feeling that this is a column that, a few years from now, I’ll look back on and say, “If only you knew….”

In other words, I have a feeling that things are going to be changing in a big way, and it’s difficult to see exactly how the chips are going to fall.


Reasonable Online Expectations in the Las Vegas Business Press

In this week’s Las Vegas Business Press, I’ve got a piece about how we should be reasonable about our expectations for online gaming:

Online or “interactive” gaming is coming to Nevada, likely in weeks, not months.Theres a great deal of uncertainty over what the advent of online poker will mean to Nevada. And, throughout the country, lawmakers are mulling the possibility of online lotteries, poker, and even sports betting. Some are hoping for instant, dramatic changes. But a glance back at gamblings history shows that change, even when it has been profound, usually happens in incremental steps, not bold, sudden strokes.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Online gaming likely to grow slowly, prosper.

I know that expectations are running pretty high, and I’ve heard all kinds of projections about what online gaming will do. But I think that if you look at the past, most gaming innovations take some time to build up critical mass.

In other words, this won’t be balancing the budget in the next biennium.


Students get involed with gaming’s future in the LVBP

This week, my column in the Las Vegas Business Press looks at how a class at the William S. Boyd School of Law has helped Nevada take a step into the future of gaming, which I think is online:

People have been gambling online for 15 years now. You don’t need to be a clairvoyant to see that online play is in the industry’s future. But between now and tomorrow, there are several uncertainties. When will the United States legalize Internet gambling? How will online operations be regulated? How will prospective operators get licensed?

With an assist from a class of students from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Nevada Legislature took a step toward answering at least the last of those questions.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Students help push state toward Net gaming future.

I enjoyed learning about the students’ contribution–I don’t recall having heard much about it before, so I was glad to share the news.


Tectonic shift for gaming in the Business Press

Mulling over two seemingly contradictory bits of news–that the Justice Department had labeled Full Tilt Poker a “global Ponzi scheme” and that the AGA was launching a renewed push for the legalization of online poker–I got to thinking. It’s a dangerous pastime, I know, but in this case it led me to my latest column for the Las Vegas Business Press:

Gambling online and by mobile devices seems to be on the march. Despite a still-simmering online poker scandal, it now appears that its only a matter of when Internet poker is legalized, and last week the Nevada Gaming Commission approved two expansions of sports betting. To some, this is a surprise, but it shouldnt be: Smart players are just adapting to the latest technology, as they have been for millennia.

Gambling shifts to suit the times arent just inevitable — theyre a smart response to changing conditions.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Tectonic shift for gaming seems poised to come.

The Nevada legislature–which doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a forward-thinking, pro-active body–first addressed online gaming ten years ago. I wonder how much longer it will take for Congress to do the same.


Gaming evolving to web/mobile in LVBP

I’ve got a new piece up in the Las Vegas Business Press about how the current debate over legalizing online gaming in Nevada is really informed by the past development of gaming in relation to technology. But I don’t think it’s as boring as it sounds:

With the current debate over Assembly Bill 258, which would legalize online poker in Nevada, we’ve been hearing a great deal about how online is the future for gambling. But getting involved with online gambling really isn’t such a dramatic departure from the past. Gambling has always evolved. And, for the past 80 years, Nevada has evolved along with it.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Technology keeps pushing betting, now toward Web.

I really think it’s a question of when, not if Internet gaming is legalized. With our current economic and fiscal position, the phrase “there’s no time like the present” comes to mind.