For the seventh year, Spectrum has compiled this list that addresses ongoing changes in technology, demographics, politics and regulation to determine the most significant trends. New Jersey-based Spectrum (www.spectrumgaming.com) has experts around the world, and tracks these and other trends in its award-winning newsletter Gaming Industry Observer (www.gamingobserver.com).
"This list marks the first time that our list of 21 top trends can be considered an all-freshman class. None of these trends appeared in previous lists, although clearly many of them are tied to long-term issues -- ranging from technology to politics -- that we have been focusing on for nearly a decade," said Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming and publisher of Gaming Industry Observer.
"You can attribute that large freshman class to the growing complexity of gaming. As the landscape expands, more molehills will inevitably rise up. An occasional molehill -- such as this new-fangled Internet -- threatens to erupt into a mountain."
Spectrum Gaming Group Top 21 Trends for 2011
- A growing interest by regulators in some states to become more industry-friendly, serving as partners and protectors in an effort to protect gaming revenue.
- A new militancy on the part of financial sources who will demand tribal operators that seek financing to increase transparency in more areas of tribal operations.
- A shifting competitive landscape in the United States in which pari-mutuel operators become more aggressive players in casino gaming and online gaming, and lotteries compete against commercial operators to become online gaming pioneers.
- Baccarat will continue to take a larger slice of the Las Vegas Strip gaming-revenue pie, as the weak dollar encourages Asian visitation and as Strip operators in Macau encourage their premium players to gamble in lower-tax Las Vegas.
- Continued evolution of slots-only markets into slots and tables will grow, fueled by states that have already made that change.
- Convergence of mobile Internet and social networking trends will present new opportunities for casinos to expand their gaming product variety and reach while enhancing the immediacy and geographic targeting of marketing efforts.
- Decisions by Singapore and its two casino licensees to limit the reliance on junkets for generating VIP business could limit the effectiveness of junkets in various markets, including Macau, by providing additional options for their high-end customers.
- Efforts by major cities that have, or are considering, gaming will grow, creating a challenge to Las Vegas in conventions and meetings business.
- Efforts to overturn the US prohibition on sports betting outside of Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware will increase due to the inevitability of Internet gambling in the United States.
- Established gaming markets, including hubs such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas, may continue to be suppressed, or slower to recover (if at all), due to continual rise in convenience-based gaming locations (i.e. more states entering/embracing gaming business).
- European online operators and suppliers will aggressively pursue US commercial and tribal partners in anticipation of online gaming in the US.
- Internet gambling will continue to grow in the US as it becomes more accepted globally. In the absence of Federal legislation, state and tribal governments will begin to push the envelope harder and litigation may resolve the legality issue before legislation does.
- Major investment banks are demonstrating a renewing, greater interest in gaming, which could spur a wider variety of deals in coming months, including mergers and acquisitions at a variety of levels.
- Multi-player electronic games and skill-based slot games will continue to develop, to capitalize on their social appeal without the high costs of traditional live table games.
- Regulators and lawmakers throughout the world are developing new regulatory structures to identify, discourage and combat the use of casinos for money-laundering, which is itself a worrisome trend for law-enforcement professionals.
- Slot manufactures will attempt to be an adjunct marketing engine for casino operators by streaming marketing content to slot devices customized for the individual player at the game.
- State governments will tend to increasingly authorize commercial gaming, including table games, as a source of "voluntary" tax revenues, while becoming less amenable to Tribal developments with lower if any returns to the state(s).
- States that already have gaming will look for new ways of tapping gaming to plug budget deficits, including expansions through new licenses, conversion of tracks to racinos and new in-state competition, such as VLTs at taverns.
- The growing interest by tribal operators to identify opportunities and become early participants in online gaming in the United States.
- The success of Singapore's two integrated resorts, which is forcing analysts and others to upwardly revise their estimates and is encouraging gaming operators and national governments to expand legalized gaming throughout the region, including Southeast Asia and Japan.
- USA broadband providers will become advocates for Internet Gaming legalization efforts in the US, due to increased usage of their products as result of I-Gaming.
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