Will PASPA’s demise accelerate real-money egaming legislation?

Greentube’s Gabriel Cianchetto predicts online casino can ride into legitimacy on the coattails of sports betting

Back in mid-May, the Supreme Court gave the gaming industry a much-needed shot of adrenaline when it ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional, letting many casinos dream about new revenue streams from sports betting and more. These dreams of new revenue streams are long overdue.

The last big development for the industry was February 2013 when then-governor Chris Christie signed licensed and regulated real money egaming into existence for the state of New Jersey. With a stroke of a pen, he ushered the state’s gaming industry into the 21st century and heralded what was expected to be widescale adoption among other states. The industry prepared for Michigan, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, California and others to follow suit and allow statewide casino games (or at least poker) for their respective residents.

That was the expectation. The reality was dramatically different as state legislatures and gaming interests stumbled and failed to produce workable legislation. One of the trends to watch now isn’t which states adopt sports betting, but rather how quickly each state takes sports betting online. The other trend will be whether explosive growth in sports betting drives states to adopt real-money casino as well. At this point, it seems reasonable to predict that as many as 20 states may go live with sports betting sites within a year – an approximate 567% rate of increase compared to real-money play.

More interesting is the possibility that many states who have not already authorized real-money gaming will write legislation that covers both sports betting as well as real-money gaming. Over the next 18 months, we should keep a close eye on Michigan, Illinois and California, all of which have live authorizing legislation. Other states, such as Maryland, Louisiana, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma introduced bills in their 2018 sessions and are expected to resume in 2019. New York and Mississippi have authorizations in process.

The verdict

The jury is still out at this time, but it appears that sports betting could accomplish more in two months than real-money play has failed to do in five years. A well-planned and well-implemented regulatory framework for online sports betting online – one that includes reasonable taxes and licensing fees, and sensible technical requirements – could pave the way for states and the casinos that reside within them to expand their egaming offerings, creating new revenues for the states and casinos alike.

It’s not hard to imagine casinos enjoying four new revenue streams online that include sports betting, poker, casino games and social play. The way to enable this trend is simple: study both the New Jersey model for its strengths and the Pennsylvania model for its weaknesses. Reasonable taxes and fees will permit more operators into the mix, creating a competitive marketplace. Equally, reasonable technical requirements will ensure that casinos can move quickly and economically.

Also, don’t be afraid to launch an ambitious implementation schedule. New Jersey showed that everyone can work expeditiously when presented with a great opportunity. For now, many of us will have to wait and watch while New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and other states implement online play. There will be more bumps along the way – a few states may stall at sports betting while others open the gates to real money play online. Nonetheless, our industry may be on the cusp of a long-awaited era of licensed and regulated egaming here in the US. Who would have thought that sports betting would be the key to it all?

Gabriel Cianchetto is president of North American market development for Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions. He leads Greentube’s expansion into the US’ B2B social casino gaming market and has spearheaded development of Greentube Pro, the company’s B2B solution.

PASPA | Regulation