When online casinos hit the market in the US, the announcement was perceived to be the death knell for brick-and-mortar establishments. According to the people in the know, the allure of remaining at home and placing wagers would be too much for customers to bear. As a result, travel and tourism to places such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City would fall by the wayside.
Almost a decade on from Delaware making online gambling legal in 2013, and the industry is no closer to the projected Armageddon. Indeed, against all the odds, betting tourism levels appear to be improving year on year. This begs the question, why have online casinos not caused the collapse of the gambling tourism sector?
The Situation as it Stands
It’s worth noting the health of both markets before unraveling why they don’t aggressively compete against themselves. Regarding the online casino industry in North America, the rise in popularity has been remarkable. Today, millions of Americans are registered with an internet betting operator, leading to an expected market value of over $65 billion by 2027.
The likes of Las Vegas haven’t been negatively affected too much, either. The visit rates for LV in 2019 show a steady incline from 2000. At the beginning of the century, for instance, 35 million guests arrived in the city. By 2019, well after the introduction of online casinos, the number jumped to 45 million. The average casino visitor budgeted $600 for their trip.
How Have Casinos Worked Together?
The reality is that online and traditional casinos have worked in relative harmony ever since they have been competing in the same field. Although it sounds counterproductive, the truth is that they can coexist, and even bounce off one another, to increase their market shares and boost their respective brands.
Online Casinos Engage with “Lost” Audiences
A “lost” audience or demographic is one that rarely engaged with wagering. They are the people who didn’t want to travel to physical casinos across the US and the world, preferring to stay at home or spend their time elsewhere without poker and blackjack tables. Digital establishments revolutionized the way people who fell into this category viewed the sector, giving them services that appealed to individuals.
Golden Nugget is a prime example. According to Thomas Winter, Director of Casino Operations at Golden Nugget in New Jersey, around 70% of the brand’s digital consumer base hasn’t set foot inside the physical casino. Instead, this demographic enjoys the online version rated highly on the NJ online casino listing that’s notorious for offering the best slots, blackjack, and live dealer services. The good news for Golden Nugget in Atlantic City is, the online platform doesn’t take away from the company’s land-based profits. It only adds to them.
Physical Casinos Are Branching Out
While online players may not like to gamble live, the same isn’t true of bettors on the casino floor. Their behavior proves they enjoy trying new things, especially when they are wagering-related. Nevada and New Jersey are domestic for many North Americans, yet they aren’t the only destinations residents will travel to. For example, 200,000 US citizens go to Macau annually.
The benefactors of gambling tourism understand this and are branching out to ensure their services are in line with what modern guests want and expect. If you walk into The LINQ Las Vegas Hotel & Experience on the main strip, it may take you a while to realize you have entered a casino. That’s because, aside from roulette wheels and slot machines, LINQ has VR and AR bays situated within an eSports lounge.
LINQ, and its peers, know that they can appeal to their in-person demographics by enhancing the services they offer, solidifying customer loyalty in the process. Therefore, software that’s synonymous with online casinos is being used by brick-and-mortar organizations to boost revenues.
Conclusion – Will the Relationship Continue?
Part of the reason why online casinos have been healthy for traditional casinos is that they prevent the industry from stagnating. Of course, in the future, they could easily outgrow their predecessors and turn into the focal point of the sector. But the facts appear to show this won’t be the case, not if the same factors are important to players.
After all, the people who choose online casinos typically wouldn’t travel to a land-based establishment in the first place. Plus, traditional casinos recognize the importance of remaining a pop culture icon, which is why they are investing in remote software and technology. If this status quo doesn’t end, there’s no reason both types of casinos can’t flourish side by side in the long term.