Casino Gaming in 2018 – The Year in Review

We just closed out a big year for casino gaming. Big changes throughout the gaming industry over the past year marked historical events America’s gaming establishment, as the gaming industry made headlines week after week throughout 2018. Casinos not only expanded sportsbook operations following a monumental change in U.S. gambling law, they experienced a string of mergers, legal changes, and turnover in leadership. But in case you missed it, here are some of the biggest things to happen in casino gaming in 2018.

1. U.S. Supreme Court Lifts Federal Ban on Sports Betting

In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 legislation that banned states outside of Nevada from allowing its citizens to take part in sports betting. Since then, states have been able to legalize and capitalize from the new lenient sports wagering policy. And across the nation, the race has been on to establish regulated gaming.

States that have already taken steps to legalize sports betting include: Delaware, which had previously offered multi-game parlays; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; West Virginia; and Mississippi. Many states, including Colorado, are gearing up to do the same, expecting high revenues brought in by gaming-related taxes and fees. As legalized sports betting continues to expand, experts that it will have an even greater impact on the casino industry in 2019.

2. #MeToo Movement Sparks Leadership Turnover in Casino Industries

Like most big businesses, the casino industry has felt the impact of the #MeToo movement this year. Scandals related to gender bias and harassment uprooted a number of powerful executives from their positions in gaming leadership. The most iconic #MeToo incident to take place in the casino industry last year involved the dethroning of long-reigning casino king Steve Wynn, founder of Wynn Resorts. Credited as the man behind modern Las Vegas, Steven Wynn stepped down from the company he founded following numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. The loss of the company’s founder has sent the casino’s stock tumbling, and advocates are hoping this loss will sending a strong message to other would-be harassers.

3. New Business Relationships

Partnerships between casino entities, sportsbooks, and professional sports teams in 2018 are shaping today’s casino industry. Just in the past year, Penn National merged with Pinnacle Entertainment, Eldorado Resorts purchased Grand Victoria Casinos, Major League Baseball announced a partnership with MGM Resorts International, and several other professional sports franchises are quickly following suit. This trend will likely continue in 2019, as new proposals for joint ventures and big deals are pending before the boards of MGM Grand, Caesars Entertainment, and other big-name casinos.

4. Technology-Driven Growth

We’ve seen a rise in gambling around the world over the past few years, and 2018 was no exception. Casinos have become more technologically advanced, and their online presence has become more robust. The modern casino industry is fueled by emerging mobile and social gambling apps, and the online gambling market is expected to continue its rapid rise in popularity, particularly if the U.S. continues to expand sports betting and enact other gambling-friendly policies.

Samantha Fow