Inside Gaming: U.S. Gaming Revenue Up, MGM Sitting Tight, and John Daly’s Degeneracy
In this edition of Inside Gaming, a recent report describes U.S. gaming revenue growth for 2013, MGM Resorts remains hesitant as yet to involve themselves with real money online gambling, and professional golfer John Daly revists tales of losing in excess of $55 million gambling in casinos.
U.S. Gaming Revenue Generates Record $66.3 Billion in 2013
A recent study by the accounting and professional consulting firm RubinBrown LLP reports commercial and tribal casinos in the United States generated $66.3 billion in revenues in 2013, up from $65.24 billion the year before and representing a record high.
RubinBrown LLP gleaned data from more than 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos operating in 39 different states with legalized gambling for the study. The report confirms a slow but steady increase in casino revenue in the U.S. over the last four years following a preceding downward turn. States’ ongoing efforts to legalize gambling are described as having contributed significantly to the increase.
Not all is perfectly rosy, however, as in some cases market expansion has not been of particular benefit for existing operators whose revenues have declined while competitors spring up around them. And while tribal gaming revenue is up overall, there, too, has the expansion of commercial gaming in some cases negatively impacted the business of particular tribes and casinos.
The study lists Ohio, Maryland, Maine, and Florida among states with the most significant gaming expansion over the last two years. Meanwhile, states with legalized gambling but without significant recent gaming expansion include Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, and Mississippi.
Also noted in the study is the early development of online gambling in the U.S., yet to be a significant factor revenue-wise but thought to be a possible harbinger of future growth.
“During the first ten months of interactive (online) gaming, the Nevada market generated $8.52 million
in online poker revenues,” the study reports. “While the revenue was not significant, the possibility of extending online gaming into states with large population centers (e.g. California) provides a significant opportunity for the industry.”
Prospects for online gambling in Delaware and New Jersey are also noted as potentially promising, with Colorado’s recent exploration of possibly passing legislation to permit online gambling additionally mentioned.
The entire report — Commercial & Tribal Gaming Stats ‘14 — is available from RubinBrown LLP.
MGM Resorts Remaining on the Online Real Money Rail for Now
Speaking of the tentative growth of online gaming in the U.S., this week Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review Journal reports how MGM Resorts — unlike other license-holders in Nevada — “is taking a wait-and-see approach in regard to real money Internet gaming.”
Echoing the RubinBrown study’s discussion of online gaming’s initially modest returns, Stutz notes how the three poker-only websites in Nevada “reported less than $1 million in monthly online gaming revenue in both February and March” of this year, while New Jersey and Delaware’s online gaming revenue has also been less than less than remarkable.
That sluggishness is one of a few factors leading MGM to choose to wait for a business model to develop further before joining the fray. Currently MGM only provides a free-to-play casino site providing a means for their M Life loyalty customers to earn rewards.
Stutz spoke with gaming analyst Chad Benyon who described MGM’s tentativeness as consequent to the fact that “recent data and news headlines have been almost uniformly negative for iGaming companies” operating in the U.S.
Read more about MGM’s caution and the current prospects for online gambling as a whole in the U.S. at the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Daly’s Degen Tales Again Make the Rounds
Resurfacing this week in the sports and gambling worlds is the story of professional golfer John Daly’s exorbitant gambling losses. While not exactly news — Daly admitted to the losses previously, writing about them in his 2006 autobiography My Life in and Out of the Rough — his revisiting of the subject in an interview has the sports and gambling worlds again marveling at the extent of Daly’s degeneracy.
Appearing as a guest on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, a multi-platform sports video interview series, the fan favorite with a troubled past speaks in detail about having lost an estimated $55-57 million gambling over the years.
“Stupidity,” was Daly’s short answer to the question of how he could accumulate so great an amount of losses gambling. He explains how it wasn’t until he and his co-author Glenn Waggoner researched his tax records that he realized the total had been that high.
“I thought it might have been $20-25 [million],” says Daly, noting that they both were surprised to discover the total to have been much higher, with the losses dating from 1991-2007.
“I had a lot of fun doing it,” says the ever-candid Daly. “I like the action, I love the adrenaline,” he adds, explaining how he would often play seven hands of blackjack at a time for $5,000 to $10,000 per hand.
Slots were also a favorite game for Daly, noting he’d sometimes play as much as two days’ straight without stopping. He describes being up as much as $4 million in a single, long gambling session and then finishing as much as $2 million down.
“I go in to enjoy myself, I don’t go in to win. You want to win, but I don’t go in thinking I’m going to win... because that’s the worst thing you can do in a casino.”
In his autobiography, Daly wrote frankly about his gambling addiction, describing it then as “the only thing that gets my juices flowing like golf does — or whiskey used to. Playing slot machines for me is like being completely alone, on my own, like on a cross-country drive. All the noise in a casino? I don’t hear it. I’m in a zone. I’ll check my watch and maybe 10, 15 hours have gone by. It’s scary how far away I get.”
There Daly described finishing out the 2005 PGA Tour losing to Tiger Woods in a playoff in the WGC-AmEx Championship and winning a $750,000 second prize, then immediately heading to Las Vegas to play the slots at what was then the newly-built Wynn Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino — and proceeding to lose $1.65 million in five hours.
Watch Daly discuss his gambling on In Depth with Graham Bensinger at Yahoo! Sports.
Photo: “John Daly,” Keith Allison. Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.