With poker at the center of our universe here at PokerNews, it's often easy to overlook everything else going on in the gaming industry. If you're as interested in all things gaming and casino as we are, you'll enjoy the fruits of our research by reading about what we find.
The East Coast Casino Wars
A number of states on the East Coast are considering legalizing casinos. This has us wondering whether there will be enough gamblers to sustain the growth.
Pennsylvania, one of the latest to enter the gaming fray, has stolen a sizable chunk of the cash that use to go to Atlantic City.
Unfortunately for casinos in the western part of Pennsylvania, Ohio recently decided to allow gambling, which should keep Ohio gamblers at home, thereby taking a chunk of revenue with them.
Connecticut casinos like Foxwoods have done well in the past but now there are fears that possible legislation might see gambling legalized in neighboring Massachusetts as early as January 2010.
Apparently Maine and New Hampshire are also considering gambling, and Delaware will have table games by spring 2010.
All these new gaming venues don't seem to leave a lot of wiggle room in what is quickly becoming one of the toughest gaming markets in the world.
Although all these states are late to the party, the arrival of their casinos will surely redistribute casino revenue in an already suffering industry. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer report by Suzette Parmley, casino gambling revenue in the 12 states that offer gambling dropped last year for the first time since Nevada legalized gambling in 1931.
Sources suggest that the industry will suffer a bigger drop in revenue this year. Pennsylvania has found the going tough (three of nine casinos are in trouble) early on and the state is about to legalize table games to help generate taxes. We have to wonder whether further market saturation will make things even worse for an already stressed gaming sector.
Harrah's Online Site Goes Live
Harrah's Entertainment took its online undertaking live recently under the name Caesars Online Casino.
This logical step for the gaming group appears to be a preemptive strike to position the company to pounce on the U.S. market if the UIGEA is repealed.
Powered by Dragonfish, the site offers a sizable number of games including baccarat, three-card poker, craps, roulette, Caribbean poker and blackjack. As expected, U.S. players are not allowed to use the site.
Considering the strength of the Caesars brand, this was a no-brainer for Harrah's as it puts itself at the forefront of the companies looking to find a foothold in the potential U.S. market.
Thanks to the company's land-based venues, the group has the inside track that could see it become the first company to be allowed to legally operate within the U.S.
Harrah's forward-thinking moves should surprise no one as it has been looking to have the UIGEA overturned in recent months. The company has committed a lot of money to help speed up the process in the hope that the company can tap into this new revenue stream, which will go a long way toward helping the company weather the current tough economic climate.
One thing is for certain, Harrah's new site positions the company to take a big share of the U.S. market once things change and operators are allowed to do business.
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