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STATESIDE


larger ship – as an adult in the 1980s when excited players packed the casino. Gaming operators must constantly entice customers because they no longer have a captive audience who will play anything simply because it is there. Do cruise operators, especially on smaller ships, no longer view onboard casinos as profit centers? While they must offer gaming, have they chosen to go the route of a scaled-down floor? If I am right, cruise lines must make some hard decisions. Conversely, this decreased travelers’ rush to bet bodes


well for legalized US jurisdictions. Gaming is no longer just for special occasions in designated venues. Everyone can enjoy it. And, enjoying it they are. In additional to traditional gaming, statistics reveal the power of legalized Internet and sports betting over this past decade. For example, the total November 2019 income in Atlantic City alone topped $3 billion. This included $544.5 million, or 18 per cent for online and sports betting, for the first time since 2012. Twelve properties operated then. Today, there are nine.


Imagine the tax revenues, which is why legislators


nationwide are racing to “cash in” on the boom in this new year. As 2019 ended, sports betting is now legal in 14 states. Six states and Washington D.C. passed legislation, but 24 states unsuccessfully introduced legislation. Six states did nothing. Potential tribal gaming compact complications may be


the reason. Michigan has smartly addressed this and other states would do well by replicating Michigan’s approach. The state’s new bipartisan bills legalized internet gaming and sports betting, allocating tax revenues to school aid and first responders. The language also supports equal treatment of tribal casinos to Detroit’s commercial casinos by including online gaming and


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sports betting at reservation casinos. Specific tax revenues are allocated to tribal community activities. Nearby Illinois, currently hemorrhaging residents to


lower tax states with warmer climates, has enacted its largest gambling overhaul since its 1990 riverboat casino laws. Going forward, Illinois will allow six new casinos, 20 sports books and thousands of new slot or blackjack gaming positions. A separate Illinois Sports Wagering Act may issue a


sports gaming license to the state’s 10 casinos, three horse tracks and seven largest sports arenas. Three additional online-only licenses will be issued 18 months after the first on-site license. Analysts estimate $756 million in annual revenues within five years. Because several major operators have rejected Illinois’s high gaming taxes, establishing a new Midwest gaming haven could increase annual tax revenues by $350 million. There is more to come this year. Could you have


predicted any of this in 2010? We can only imagine what the industry will look like in 2030.


JANUARY 2020 13


rpbmedia/Adobe Stock


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