Too many brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbooks are finding out difficult it is to have a business that may have already been dying. With the advent of online gaming and mobile sportsbook websites, people are opting for the easier route if it is available.
Now, because of the social distancing restrictions and closing of many of these retail locations, online gaming and mobile sportsbooks are the real winners in this whole fiasco.
Interestingly enough, these states who weren't in favor of mobile betting may now have to rethink their position on the matter.
As of right now, the only states that are legally allowed to offer online casino gaming are Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In fact, over 85 percent of The Garden State's total income comes from online gaming.
"We need to be cautious going into states that need the revenue," said John Pappas, founder and CEO of Corridor Consulting. "We need to educate them on why having a competitive marketing low tax rates and reasonable fees will create more revenue in the long term, instead of trying to get as much as they can out of this industry in a short amount of time and how that is really not the best policy."
Pappas was speaking at Friday's "Sports Betting in America" discussion that was part of SBC's first-ever digital summit. Instead of congregating in one location, folks mobilized online to become of a virtual course and discussion of sorts.
In addition, Pappas is the former executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. He believes that one good thing coming out of the coronavirus pandemic is more states being open to the idea of online gaming. Many different people will need to be educated and trained on the intricacies, but that's the price of doing business.
Everyone knows this won't be a smooth transition, where online gaming is immediately legalized in all 50 states tomorrow. This will take some time, and it's something that every state should take the time to do.
"Even when we come out of this, there won't be a date where everyone says, 'Come out of your houses, and you're free to do whatever you want,'" said Matt Carey of Vixio Regulatory Intelligence, a DC-based company that works with gaming companies and payment processes on regulatory developments.
"This is going to be a staggered transition back. There will still be a segment of the population that won't be rushing to the nearest casino even when they reopen. Online casinos will be a big help to them."
One place that could really use the education would be Florida. For years, the Seminole Tribe has been unwilling to change its way of how business is conducted in The Sunshine State. Among the issues is online gaming, which the tribe still wants to handle all on their own.
While Florida has looser restrictions than the rest of the country, there could come a time where the Seminole Tribe has to close its doors for an even longer period of time. And will that be a devastating blow for business? Of course it would, so it's best to have a contingency plan in place.
The most frustrating part about the COVID-19 outbreak is that we have no idea about the timeline in all of this. If more states decide to have online gaming, that's at least a business practice that will stay in place – it's not like people won't ever gamble on their computers or phones ever again.