Wynn Resorts CEO Calls for Balanced View on Online vs Land-Based Casinos

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The Bottom Line

Craig Billings, CEO of Wynn Resorts, recently commented on the debate over the potential cannibalization of land-based casinos by online gambling offerings. In a post on LinkedIn, he referred to this discussion as “reductive”. Billings, who is neutral on this issue, points out that the dynamics between online and offline casinos are more complex than often portrayed.

A nuanced view on the cannibalization debate

Billings argues that while the introduction of online casinos brings new and capable competitors into the market, the assumption that all regional casinos would be equally affected is naive. In particular, for operators with a comprehensive portfolio of online and offline offerings, the situation could be different. He emphasizes that the discussion focuses too much on the total addressable market (TAM) and tax bases, without considering the specific impacts on individual providers.

The reality of the iGaming market

Despite the potential that online casinos represent for growth in the gambling sector, their spread in the US has so far been limited to seven states. In contrast, there are about 1,000 commercial and tribal casinos in the country. Billings points out that only a small percentage of these establishments pursue an omnichannel strategy that includes both land-based and online offerings. He anticipates a shift in market share, with both winners and losers.

Labor market and iGaming

Another important aspect that Billings addresses is employment. Land-based casinos are significant employers, while online casinos create comparatively few jobs. This has led some unions, especially in states with a strong union presence, to have reservations about online gambling. Billings emphasizes that these groups will not remain inactive, as they can have a direct influence on legislation.

Our Assessment

Craig Billings brings an important perspective to the debate about online and offline casinos. His emphasis on the complexity and the different impacts on various market participants is an important contribution to a more balanced understanding of this issue. It is clear that a blanket view of the situation does not do justice to the real circumstances. The future of gambling will depend both on the development of the online market and on the ability of land-based casinos to adapt to changing market conditions.

Sources: Todd Shriber at etfgodfather

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