pectrum Gaming Group, an independent research and professional services firm serving public- and private-sector clients worldwide, has released its 15th annual list of Most Important Trends for the global gaming industry.
Top 10 trends for 2019 (in order of prominence):
- An increasing number of jurisdictions around the world will seek to authorize integrated resorts – largely through a competitive bidding process – as the most effective means of leveraging gaming as an economic tool to help achieve their policy goals. Related to that, Japan will appoint a gaming oversight board and promulgate IR regulations, and prefectures will position themselves to attract and be selected for IR sites by the national government.
- In Asia, the online gaming industry – including the streaming of casino games to China from the Philippines and Cambodia – will begin to face scrutiny from China and from international regulators. Concurrently, we expect changes to the Asian junket industry as some junkets position themselves as casino operators and others go out of business as the reliance on junkets diminishes in Macau and Macau continues to evolve as a mass and premium-mass market.
- Sports-betting legislation will continue to proliferate in the United States and gain momentum, as we expect at least nine state governments and lotteries to begin the process of authorizing legal sports betting, spurred by various forces, including the fiscal needs of states. Concurrently, the relatively slow acceptance and expansion of online gaming in the US will speed up in 2019, fueled in part by the proliferation of sports betting in a digital format, as well as by the need for legislatures to plug budget deficits.
- The interest of lotteries to expand into both igaming and sports betting will grow significantly, creating competitive tensions in jurisdictions that have both lotteries and either tribal or commercial casinos, requiring legislatures to address such conflicts through new policies that provide limits as to the online channels and offerings that lotteries and casinos can pursue.
- Private companies and organizations that have not previously been involved in any form of legal gaming, such as sports bars and restaurants, will seek to offer sports and/or online wagering, largely choosing to become lottery retailers, as they follow the lead of lotteries into this burgeoning field. More states will respond to fiscal pressures by expanding their gaming offerings through additional licenses, lottery expansions, retail gaming and other means, prompting existing land-based casino licensees to push back, as they view such expansions as detrimental to their operations and to the value of their existing licenses.
- Lotteries that seek to offer mobile and online sports betting will be pressured to adopt regulatory policies that have to date largely been limited to gaming operators, including more robust, comprehensive licensing of retailers, as well as rules governing areas ranging from internal-control submissions to responsible-gaming policies and other areas.
- States and tribal governments that have existing compacts that did not contemplate online or sports betting will face increasing pressure to overcome their reluctance to open compact negotiations to address these areas.
- European and Asian B2B sports-betting and online gaming providers will seek entry points into the US market, with many facing challenges due to previous online ventures into gray and black markets. This will prompt legislators and regulators to develop clear, uniform definitions as to what constitutes a gray or black market. Concurrently, as online and sports betting expand in the US, regulators and legislators will be pressed to restrict and regulate advertising and related rules, following similar plans under consideration by some major European jurisdictions -- including Italy and the United Kingdom.
- More gaming and pari-mutuel operators, from large integrated resorts to small race tracks, will seek esports offerings, in part to better leverage under-utilized space, and in part, to address an aging slot demographic. Offerings will range from offering esports as an amenity to ultimately offering esports as a wagering opportunity.
- M&A activity is likely to ramp up in US casino operations, as online gaming consolidation in general will continue, as sports book/online platforms and operators will be on the radar for US operators and suppliers. Related to that, we expect European players to be hunting for US acquisitions as well.
Spectrum tracks these and other trends on a regular basis. To view previous years' lists, visit https://spectrumgaming.com/gaming-trends/.
These trends and other issues will be discussed at the following upcoming events where Spectrum will be speaking:
- Sports Betting Policy Summit, November 15 in Washington, DC
- National Tax Association Conference on Taxation, November 15-17 in New Orleans
- Sports Betting USA, November 27-28 in New York City
- Winter Meeting of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), January 4-6 in New Orleans