GAMBLING ON THE INCREASE IN WASHINGTON STATE
The US state with the most draconian online gambling penalties reviews the local industry.
The state of Washington, notorious for having widespread land gambling but some of the most draconian penalties against online gambling in the USA, is currently studying the results of a survey it commissioned on the industry.
Conducted by the Spectrum Gaming Group, the survey showed that gambling is set to continue as a big money spinner in Washington, with GGR predicted to rise 37 percent to $3.5 billion by 2020,
Thats driven by a rising population increasing at 5.3 percent over the next five years; two major new land casino resorts; and a plethora of tribal casinos that means the state has around 80 land venues.
And because Washington residents clearly like to gamble (more so than those in many other states) operators enjoy solid revenues.
The survey found that very few residents are further away than an hours drive from a casino.
Spectrum also reported on the possibilities regarding online gambling, currently banned in the state, which has unusual laws that make players liable to criminal prosecution.
Spectrums researchers found that online poker and casino gaming, if legalized, could generate significant tax revenues based on projected GGR, citing New Jersey as an example of what could be achieved.
The report notes:
"In our opinion, Washington has similar demographic factors to New Jersey, such as household income and population over 21 years old. As such, with a reasonable tax rate (15 percent or less) and an offering that includes slot machines, table games and poker, Spectrum estimates the potential for Washington iGaming GGR to be approximately $100 million."
Spectrum concluded that the introduction of online gambling would not cannibalise the profits of land casinos, basing its conclusion on the empirical knowledge of land operators in New Jersey, and suggesting that online gambling actually brings in new player demographics and has a tendency to reactivate the interest of former gamblers.
"iGaming revenue should, in our opinion, be predominantly incremental to overall GGR for land-based casino operators if the regulations require iGaming operations to be provided by licensed Washington Indian casinos or cardrooms," Spectrum noted.