While New York has been on the cusp of legalizing various forms of online casino gambling, and has been one of a handful of states that industry insiders believe will be the next to go live with real money wagering online, the fact of the matter is that the fuel supporting the latest push for legalization in the Empire State is coming from out West.
Let NY Play, is the latest proponent slogan for iGaming in New York. Social media outlets have been fanning the flames through this organization, which is actually coming from none other than MGM Resorts International. MGM is a huge gaming brand based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
So then why all the backing from a casino brand that doesn’t even have a land-based property or a stake in New York?
Well, New York is getting ready to move forward with granting four different licenses to develop online outlets, and while MGM is interested, it has no hand in the game other than possible future interests. MGM has lobbied in the state of New York before – specifically in support of the legalization of online poker.
While Let NY Play is gaining social interest online, MGM surely cannot be embracing the idea that New York will generate enough revenue from the get-go to stimulate the expansion of online gambling a la New Jersey, which is still struggling to generate increased online wagering income even though there are more than a dozen online casinos there.
But wait, in New York it’s about poker specifically. New York is a state that loves poker. MGM knows that New York residents bet as much as $110 million in non-regulated online poker activity. Further believing that NY could generate between $50-80 million in revenue each year, MGM may have designs on the future indeed. This estimate does not consider additional revenue the state would gain from the licensing process itself.
Still, is there something else propelling MGM in its support of NY so much? NY’s neighbor, New Jersey, has come nowhere near earning the revenue it originally predicted it would when gambling online went live over a year ago.
Needless to say, MGM officials are taking the “slow and steady” road, and believe that while there has been a slow start to the industry, the tables will turn eventually. After all, there are online casinos that are not based in the US still taking wagers from US players, and thereby cutting into the market.
Interest by many offshore and European online poker giants to move back into the US market may be the solution to the needed income. But the question remains whether or not US markets such as NY are ready to grant permission for the world’s most successful online poker brands to move in.
The fact that MGM owns half of the Borgata, which hosts the most popular online casino in New Jersey at this time, may be another factor. Perhaps MGM will go live via the Borgata, creating a site related to its New Jersey destination. There are rumblings in the industry that this is a possible outcome in the near future, but New Jersey is not New York.
Whatever MGM’s motives may be entirely, the state of New York is on the verge of legalization, indeed. As casino licensing gets underway, there are sure to be further developments regarding MGM’s support of online poker in New York. Time will tell what they are.