More G2E coverage
- Company unveils holographic dealers at Global Gaming Expo (10-4-2012)
- Gaming executives predict industry growth over the next 5 years (10-3-2012)
- What’s new in gaming? Robotic dealers, fat cats, Willy Wonka and choose your own bingo (10-3-2012)
- Las Vegas Sands, Caesars singing different tunes at G2E (10-3-2012)
- World’s largest gaming expo kicks off in Las Vegas (10-02-2012)
- Stars shine at kickoff of 2012 Global Gaming Expo in L.V. today (10-01-2012)
Had there been a real table set up for the round-table discussion on the state of the casino industry at the recent Global Gaming Expo, the CEOs gathered around it would have been kicking the shins of Walter Bugno, the head of Spielo International.
Bugno explained that Internet casinos wouldn’t make much money with online poker because the casino is merely a facilitator for players against players. Other members of the panel added that instead of taxing casinos for poker play, players should be taxed on their winnings.
Spielo is a gaming equipment designer with European roots. The company is owned by the Lottomatica Group of Italy and has offices worldwide.
A bigger opportunity, he said, would be in online sports wagering and other casino games, such as the ones played for free on social media sites.
Maybe none of it makes any difference anyway, because the industry in general is pessimistic about its chances of getting any kind of bill approved in the upcoming lame-duck session. It’s not that proponents are giving up. They’re just acknowledging that there are too many obstacles to pass legislation this year.
To be clear, most industry leaders haven’t said publicly that they support anything but online poker — and there’s even a split among some of the big companies over that. Sheldon Adelson, for example, whose company hosted G2E at the Venetian, opposes the legalization of online poker.
Most companies are on the other side, but Adelson has considerable influence because he’s donated so much money to politicians who eventually may have a role in whether online poker is approved.
But Bugno’s comments reflect an attitude that many online gaming opponents fear. They’ve said they want to keep the camel’s nose out of the tent, which is why they vehemently oppose any form of online gaming.
If Internet poker is approved, is it inevitable that other forms of gambling would follow?
The American Gaming Association has been clear that it’s only pursuing the approval of Internet poker legislation. But that strategy seems to have hit a dead end. That’s why there has been a push by some states, including Nevada, to approve intrastate poker play. We’re likely to see play begin here by 2013.
But as another panelist at the G2E session, Patti Hart, the CEO of International Game Technology, pointed out, most states don’t have the volume to make Internet poker lucrative. Some state leaders have talked about developing compacts to allow residents of other states play their games.
That might work for Nevada if it were to sign such a compact with California. But that’s a pretty complicated proposition considering issues like tax revenue sharing and regulatory compliance.
Meanwhile, companies in other countries continue to grow their online gaming revenue. Most European companies laugh at the United States for not joining the competition.
Bugno is an Australian who has worked around the world. He obviously has seen that and added an interesting footnote to the debate.