Casinos ponder the real estate conundrum as online gaming thrives

Written by Posted On Friday, 16 May 2014 00:32

Visiting the casino is a timeless form of entertainment. However, in today’s online world, the industry fast is evolving. Casino companies are increasingly weighing up the benefits of shifting their focus from expensive real estate to the internet.

Classy casinos, especially in tourist destinations such as Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore attract huge numbers of visitors each year. The entire experience, which often includes luxury hotels and world-class entertainment is a massive attraction. And it can prove to be very profitable, with US shares soaring in companies with significant casino investments, such as Boyd Gaming and Penn National Gaming. However, it undoubtedly comes at a price. The Bellagio in Las Vegas for example, reportedly cost $88million to build back in 1998 and would most certainly cost a great deal more to construct today.

The fact is, that even the more modest casinos require huge investment in order to begin making money. Real estate is the major outlay, but the everyday maintenance costs to merely keep a casino operating can also be eye-watering. In short, the investment can be enormous while the promise of returns often remains distant. All of this might be less troublesome for casino owners, were it not for the fact that online gaming is becoming both increasingly popular and viable. In the United States, online casinos have been introduced in three states including New Jersey, where Bloomberg predicts the state will receive $425million in tax revenues during 2014 purely from online gaming.

For the consumer, online casinos make perfect sense. Rather than make a costly trip, players can simply enjoy the fun of the casino from the comfort of their own home. As a result, online casinos are increasingly tempting for casino owners too, who are keen to share a slice of the pie. In the UK, William Hill’s betting shops have been a fixture of the British high street for many decades. In recent years though, they have successfully transferred this success into a very popular online platform, which includes all the games you could ever expect to find at the Bellagio itself. Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of online gaming from a consumer perspective is their accessibility, with appropriate games and prizes for small-time casual players and big money gamblers alike. In other words, online casinos provide an open door to all, a rarity in the exclusive world of casinos.     

Casino purists have often argued that the unique atmosphere of the casino cannot be replicated online. However, as technology continues to advance, online casinos have begun to develop gaming options which do not require the casino to be replicated. Instead, they actually allow players to join a real casino table from their computer. Platforms such as William Hill online offer a range of Live Casino games, usually including roulette, blackjack, baccarat and other casino classics. A high-quality stream links players to a real casino table of their choice and a convenient on-screen chat box allows them to communicate directly with the dealers. The noise of alternative tables in the background and the sight of a classy casino rivalling any in Las Vegas means that players only need to turn on their computer for an authentic casino experience. All of which is making the huge outlay of a bricks and mortar casino less attractive than ever. 

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