Why the Gaming Industry will no Longer Focus on Las Vegas for Economic Forecasting
When legalized gambling started in the 1930’s in Nevada it was unique in all the country. Nevada could market itself as the only place in the United States where a person could legally place bets, wager money, and play games of chance. That alone was enough to draw people from all over the country and the world to its casinos.
By the time Atlantic City, New Jersey started building casinos 50 years later, Nevada had experience on its side. While it was no longer the only destination, it’s cities, especially Las Vegas, were the premier gambling destinations in the world. For the Las Vegas experience, people would travel from all over the country and all over the planet. This allowed Nevada to rule the gaming industry for much of the 20th century. As a result, measuring the growth of the global gaming industry was done through the economic forecasting of Nevada’s casinos.
As the first quarter of the 21st century continues, the worldwide gaming industry map is much larger. Nearly every state in the US now has some form of legalized gambling. It is estimated that most of the population of the United States now lives within a few hours drive of casino. Couple this with the huge growth of gambling in Asia, and players all over the world have more options.
The effect of this tremendous expansion has been felt most acutely in Atlantic City. Once the sole destination for legalized gaming in the Northeast, Atlantic City now finds it’s visitor levels plummeting and its casinos closing. Populations who once flocked to its famous boardwalk now have dozens of local casinos run by Native American tribes and neighboring states to choose from. When a patron can experience the same table games and entertainment options much closer to home, there is little reason to travel all the way to Atlantic City. As a canary in a coal mine, the problems in New Jersey may serve as a financial warning, forecasting economic challenges for gaming in Las Vegas and all of Nevada.