Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

State News

March 3, 2013

Maureen Hayden: Social media may be more appealing to gamblers

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers have been debating whether to give the state’s casinos more financial incentives to compete with the shiny new gambling palaces popping up in Ohio.

They’re fearful that fickle gamblers will take their dollars — and the millions in tax revenues they generate every year—across the border to one of the four big-city casinos that have opened in the Buckeye State in the last 10 months.

What should worry them more: How easy it is for you to sit at home in your underwear, using your laptop or mobile device to place your bets online.  

Americans gambled away about $4 billion in 2011 using online wagering, according to a recent report by the American Gaming Association. Most of that money was spent through offshore websites, in the nearly 85 countries that have legalized online gambling.

That was the same year the U.S. Department of Justice cracked down on illegal online gambling here in the U.S., with massive criminal and civil charges against the biggest Web-based poker sites.

No matter. The American Gaming Association’s report, issued late last year, said that crackdown barely made a dent, and that gaming industry experts see online gambling as the wave of the future whether it’s legal or not.

Consider this, from an association survey of those experts: Nearly 70 percent of them estimate U.S. bettors will annually spend between $8 billion and $11 billion on Internet gambling five years from now.

Most of the rest think the market will grow more “moderately”—to a size of $6 billion to $7 billion annually over the next five years. And that’s even if Congress doesn’t pass legislation that legalizes and regulates online gaming.

If Congress opts to regulate online gaming, and even if states like Indiana opt not to follow suit, about one-third of those experts predict Americans will be spending between $14 billion and $17 billion annually in online wagering by 2018.  

The bricks-and-mortar casinos may argue that the threat of Internet gambling is overblown; that most bettors will still want they offer: Acres of slot machines and gaming tables and cocktails and the company of others.  

But Americans have abandoned bricks-and-mortar department stores, bookstores and movie theaters in favor of the online alternatives. Why should betting away your hard-earned dollars be any different?

Just more than half of those industry experts surveyed by the American Gaming Association said legalized online gaming in the U.S. could help grow the existing casino industry in states like Indiana. But almost one-quarter of them think that legalized online gambling would cannibalize business from existing casino operations.

Here’s another factor, to complicate the odds: Casino patrons are an aging crowd — the American Gaming Association puts the median age at 47. They may still like the casino experience, but it’s not one that appeals to a younger demographic.

So consider the threat that social media, favored by a younger demographic, may play now that it’s stepped into the world of gaming. Last summer, Facebook launched a real-money gambling app that offers winners cash prizes. It’s only available to Facebook users in the United Kingdom who over the age of 18. For now, that is.

Indiana has become dependent on gaming tax revenues, so the stakes just keep getting higher as our casinos face increased competition. But one of the questions that legislators need to ask, in considering giveaways to the industry: Are we chasing good money after bad?

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Complaint ends teacher prayer in western Indiana school district TERRE HAUTE (AP) — A western Indiana school district is telling teachers and other employees they can't lead prayers during school-sponsored event. The decision by the Vigo County School Corp. in Terre Haute follows a complaint made to the Freedom fr

    July 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers approve pair of new license plates INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A panel of state lawmakers approved new license plates recognizing the Indy 500 and Abraham Lincoln under a new system clamping down on the number of special license plates on the road. Members of the Legislature's transportation

    July 23, 2014

  • Indiana Veterans Hall of Fame seeks nominations INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new hall of fame for Indiana military veterans is seeking nominations for its first class of inductees. The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame says it expects to induct the first honorees around Veterans Day at Fort Benjamin

    July 23, 2014

  • Gay couples' lawyers object to full-court hearing INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys on either side of a lawsuit over Indiana’s overthrown gay marriage ban are wrangling over how many federal judges should hear the state’s appeal, a technical issue that could make a big difference.Those representing gay

    July 23, 2014

  • NWS - KT072214 - Ryan Ledbetter mugshot - CLG [Duplicate] Bunker Hill councilman arrested for firing gun BUNKER HILL – A member of the Bunker Hill Town Council was arrested Saturday after police say he broke a no-contact order with his children’s mother and fired a gun inside a trailer park near Peru. Indiana State Police responded to the Woodland Hill

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowe's plans 1,000-worker Indianapolis call center INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Home-improvement retailer Lowe's says it will open a new call center in Indianapolis that could have up to 1,000 employees in the next couple years. The North Carolina-based retailer announced Tuesday that it would spend about $20

    July 22, 2014

  • 2 men die in separate apparent drownings near Rockville and Morocco ROCKVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State conservation officers say two Indiana men have died in separate apparent drownings. Officers say 29-year-old Terry Johnson of Veedersburg died after divers pulled him Monday from Raccoon Lake near the Parke County town of

    July 22, 2014

  • Former Hartford City councilman sentenced for child molesting HARTFORD CITY (AP) — A former northeastern Indiana city councilman and retired teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on child molesting charges. A Blackford County judge ordered the sentence on Monday against 66-year-old John Adams. He ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 6 Indiana projects get national humanities grants INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three universities in Indiana have been awarded a total of $1.25 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment announced Monday that Indiana University's Indianapolis branch campus is receiving $1

    July 22, 2014

  • Indiana governor's residence gets honey bee hive INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's Governor's Residence is getting a bee hive to call its own. First lady Karen Pence was scheduled to unveil a honey bee hive Tuesday morning at the Governor's Residence on Indianapolis' north side. The hive and its bees w

    July 22, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.