resident Obama may be telling people the recession is ending, but representatives of the Las Vegas casino industry think it will take several years for recovery for gaming companies. The opportunities presented by online casinos may even force the most hardened opponents of Internet competition to examine the fix possible in accepting the new wave.
Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., president of the land-based casino organ American Gaming Association, told listeners at the Global Gaming Expo this week that he doesn't believe optimistic comments that the recession is over.
He said the slowing decline experienced over much of 2009 is not the same as increases, and added the return to gaming figures pre-recession may be as much as four years away. "Without a doubt, the gaming industry is facing a long road to recovery," Fahrenkopf said.
But the low overheads and ready customers available to online casinos is drawing attention from greater numbers in the land casino business. Harrah's has already prepared an online poker arm, using its World Series of Poker brand, to enter European markets in what many analysts consider a prelude to US activity.
AGA membership had opposed online gambling for years, but Fahrenkopf has noted for over a year now that the organization has changed its stance to neutral, as groups like Harrah's offset the hard-core rejection of Steve Wynn and others.
Now Fahrenkopf says the AGA may take up the topic in December. AGA support for Barney Frank's legislation to regulate online casinos may be the needed impetus to get Harry Reid behind the cause, giving the bill a real chance to pass.