Thursday, January 27

North America’s war on gambling finally wearing off

North America boasts some of the most appealing gambling destinations in the world, such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas. But it hasn’t always been an easy and straightforward relationship between the USA, Canada and gambling. Both countries have held restricted gambling laws for a long time, limiting overseas investment and market growth.   

But the USA and Canada have loosened their gambling laws in the recent past. And both have legalised sports betting to some degree. Canadian and US federal governments passed new sports betting laws that permit individual states to decide on the legalisation of sports betting markets, with most opting for them as they recognise the lucrative tax revenue sports betting could bring in. So, has the war against some forms of gambling now worn off in North America? And what does the future hold?

Overseas companies penetrating North America

By legalising some gambling services within these respective countries, overseas vendors have become interested in staking their claim in these new territories. Sometimes this is completed through partnerships with existing gambling providers that already have a recognisable brand in the market. In contrast, others try to emerge in the market independently, such as CasinoClub moving into Canada after success in the German markets.

An example of a foreign company merging with a local betting company is the new relationship between Entain and MGM Resorts. When sports betting was made legal in much of the USA, local brand MGM required sophisticated technologies and the platforms owned by Entain’s group to create a high-quality sportsbook quickly. Thus, MGM partnered with Entain to combine brand awareness and products and then begin offering sports betting through the BetMGM sportsbook, which is only one of eight sportsbooks now affiliated with the NFL.

Why is the gambling war over?

It does appear that the fierce opposition to some forms of gambling has wavered over the last two to three years. This is probably due to missed opportunities over anything else. While much of the rest of the world, especially Europe, cashes in on prosperous gambling industries, the US and Canada have left their own gambling industry potential untapped.

By changing laws and welcoming foreign investment, they could create scores of jobs, enhance local technologies and generate more taxes. This may be more important than ever, given what has happened around the world over the past 18 months.

Should we expect new mergers?

It’s not just new relationships between US, Canadian and external groups that you should expect. It may be the case that some of the biggest US and Canadian gaming companies attempt to buy out successful groups from Europe. MGM Resorts themselves attempted to buy Entain, and after that merger collapsed, one of their fiercest rivals from Canada -DraftKings – also tried to acquire the Entain group.

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