One idea that’s been pushed by online gaming opponents, especially Sheldon Adelson, is that online poker and casino games will cannibalize existing land-based casino business. In theory, this doesn’t sound so crazy because those who gamble in brick-and-mortar casinos might instead choose to stay home and play online. However, the facts tell a much different story, one where iGaming is the perfect compliment to land-based casinos. That said, let’s look at three different instances where online gaming has proven to be a big help.
1. Two Casino Execs say Online Poker helps their Land-based Casinos
In 2014, Kevin Smith, CEO of Boyd Gaming, and David Satz, senior vice president of government relations for Caesars Entertainment, made positive statements towards iGaming. Smith said that 85% of their online gaming customers had not had their play rated at the Borgata for two years, while adding, ”Online gaming is growing our database, creating a long-term opportunity to market Borgata to an entirely new group of customers.” Satz said that 91% of their online players were ones that Caesars “did not know.” He also revealed that existing Caesars customers who also play online poker and/or casino games increased their land-based gaming by 11%.
2. Study reveals that Online Poker is Good for Casinos
In 2012, Kahlil Philander and Ingo Fiedler published a study called “Online Poker in North America: Empirical Evidence on its Complimentary Effect on the Offline Gambling Market.” Fiedler and Philander’s research covered most of the United States’ and Canada’s iPoker markets and ultimately revealed that “online poker may increase demand of offline gambling overall.”
3. Consumer in the Gaming Industry Report shows Positive Synergy
The latest sign that online poker and casino games are more beneficial than harmful to brick-and-mortar gaming is a report by three noted figures. Gaming experts Brett Abarbanel, Kahlil S. Philander and Toni Repetti wrote a study called “Consumer spending in the gaming industry: evidence of complementary demand in casino and online venues,” where they showed that UK gaming sites have actually helped increase land-based gambling revenue. Specifically, iGaming largely reaches younger groups with more income and university degrees, while land-based casinos attract a more-mixed age range that is either unemployed or makes less money.
So far, no online gaming opponent has released a study that shows how iGaming damages land-based casinos. This being the case, we can only assume that online casino games and poker help brick-and-mortar casinos through additional revenue and, in some cases, encouraging more land-based play.