Top Gaming Execs Remain Bullish On U.S. iGaming Prospects

December 5, 2023
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Chief executives of major operators remain optimistic that despite a multi-year lull in U.S. online casino legalization, movement could be coming in 2024.
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Chief executives of major operators remain optimistic that despite a multi-year lull in U.S. online casino legalization, movement could be coming in 2024.

After a two-year stretch where only one state, Rhode Island, legalized online casino gaming, executives from DraftKings and BetMGM now expect that new states could begin to consider legalizing the activity.

“We expect there to be some movement on the legislative front, in probably three states,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said during a business update on Monday (December 4).

Greenblatt flagged Illinois, Maryland and New York as states where the company is “eagerly anticipating” some legislative action regarding online casino gaming.

He also highlighted Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri as states where the company sees “good progress” toward the legalization of sports betting.

“These are all highly caveated because we’ve been both surprised and disappointed in the past in this regard,” he added, highlighting Indiana as one of the most recent disappointments.

Indiana was considered by many to be the most likely state to pass online casino legislation in 2023, but a serious push never materialized, and already legislative leaders have quashed hopes of a push in 2024.

After a former state legislator pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe for his support of the 2019 gaming legislation that allowed Spectacle Entertainment to build two new casinos, legislators have become wary of associating themselves with any gaming-related issues.

“It taints the statehouse,” Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray told WFYI in Indianapolis. “It diminishes the confidence that people have in the integrity of the statehouse.”

WFYI reported that both Bray and Republican House Speaker Todd Huston said the fallout from the scandal will rule out any gaming legislation in 2024.

“It causes an awful lot of problems and it makes it particularly difficult to engage in that kind of policy,” Bray said.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said Monday during an appearance at the Craig-Hallum Online Gaming Conference that he believes states will reconsider online gaming legislation out of budgetary need.

“We did hit a bit of a period where I think a lot of states had their pockets full after the COVID federal relief packages,” Robins said. “And some of those states are starting to pull their head up and say, hey, we’re looking for new sources of revenue.

“I think once you see a few big ones go, we do already have some pretty decent size [states], but I think if you see like in New York or in Illinois or something like that, I think that's going to unlock some other ones in the region as well.”

New York and Illinois legislators briefly flirted with online casino legislation in 2023, without any substantive movement in either state’s legislature, while Maryland legislators approved a study bill to research the issue for a potential voter referendum in 2024.

That study, released last month, projected that a regulated market could generate almost $1bn in annual gross gaming revenue.

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