A Look At What’s Trending Up and Down In The Era Of Online Gambling

The legal online gambling landscape in the US looks quite different in 2020 than it did just two years ago. The overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) pushed the first domino down in what’s turned out as a boom period for online sports betting.

Online casinos thrive as well, as states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania realized record-setting numbers in May and June.

The US casino industry is experiencing rapid change, as the online market evolves and retail casinos suffer the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following list takes a look at some of the upward and downward trends in the US casino industry as of August 2020.

Trending Upward

DraftKings and FanDuel

The expansion into legal sports betting for the world’s two biggest daily fantasy sports (DFS) brands continues to pay off big. DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook dominate the US online sports betting market.

A DraftKings earnings call earlier this month revealed record-setting handle for the brand in MLB, NHL, and golf betting. DraftKings debuted its first online sportsbook in New Jersey in August 2018, and within two years expanded operations into seven states total.

FanDuel Sportsbook now operates in five states, and enjoys status as the top-earning online sports betting platform in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Those states represent the two biggest mobile sports betting markets in the US.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings have further expanded into online casino gaming. The two brands formerly known as strictly DFS platforms now stand as possibly the biggest winners from the US boom in online gambling.

Gaming Technology Companies

The software companies providing the technology behind legal online gambling platforms aren’t running out of work any time soon.

Companies like Scientific Games, Kambi Group, and GAN power the software that brings mobile gambling sites to the public. Online gambling legalization in future states will expand the footprints of these brands even further.

Michigan is set as the next state to launch full-scale legal mobile gambling. Online sports betting, casinos, and poker could launch in the state by the end of 2020.

Scientific Games, Kambi Group, and GAN are all on board with various casinos in Michigan for the upcoming launch. As more US states give the green light to legal online gambling, these technology brands continue to thrive.

Online Poker

The day known as “Black Friday” in the poker world effectively wiped out online poker in the US in April 2011. Online poker isn’t dead though, as regulated poker sites in the US are achieving record numbers in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in the resurgence of online poker in the US. All retail casinos in the US were forced to shut down in mid-March.

Most casinos are back in business as the summer season winds down, but many live poker rooms still can’t reopen due to COVID-19 guidelines in various states. Poker players have turned to online poker as a result.

PokerStars PA, Pennsylvania’s only legal online poker platform, set the all-time monthly revenue record for a legal US poker site in April 2020. That same month saw New Jersey’s online poker sites set a new record for statewide revenue.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware currently stand as the only three US states offering legal poker sites. Michigan and West Virginia will eventually join that list, and the future for the US online poker industry is in an upward trend.

Trending Downward

Retail Casinos

Live casinos proved remarkably resilient on the other side of the COVID-19 shutdowns, but still face an uphill battle as the pandemic continues.

Commercial casinos are back in business nationwide, but the majority are operating with significant capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Customers are still hitting the casinos in the COVID era, but the physical restrictions imposed by pandemic guidelines also restrict revenue potential.

Online casinos don’t face the same challenges as the retail casino industry. New Jersey’s online casinos brought in record monthly revenues in May 2020, and the following month’s total’s nearly matched the May numbers.

As more states continue to legalize online casino gaming, retail casinos in those states might never climb back to the status they once enjoyed.

Live Poker

COVID-19 restrictions hit hard on the live poker industry. In states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, live poker rooms remain shuttered even as the other parts of the casino floor are open for business.

The pandemic devastated the live poker tournament economy. The World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, WSOP US Circuit, and all other US-based tournament circuits were forced to postpone or cancel all events for the foreseeable future.

The poker community is certainly hungry for the return of live poker. With no end in sight to COVID-19 restrictions, however, it will likely be quite a while before the live poker scene in the US returns to pre-pandemic levels.

States Without Legal Online Gambling

States that have yet to legalize online gambling currently stand to miss out on one of the most upward-trending industries in the US.

Many sectors of the US economy continue to struggle as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Legal online gambling, however, is experiencing a boom period in 2020.

Legal online casino revenues are flourishing, as players discover and enjoy the convenience of mobile platforms. Even with a lack of sports to bet on for much of 2020, online sportsbooks have found a way to succeed.

New Jersey’s online sportsbooks are up 12.8% in year-over-year revenue through the first half of 2020. Colorado, which launched legal mobile sports betting in May, realized nearly $3.5 million in revenue in June for its online sportsbooks.

Online gambling appears poised as a strong industry for years to come, and states that have prioritized legalization will continue to reap the benefits.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.