Are mobile live casinos the final frontier for gambling in Canada?
There’s no denying that gambling is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. Not for the gamblers, mind you, but for the owners and operators of gambling establishments; casinos, card rooms, bingo halls, race tracks, sports books, etc. Billions of dollars pass through Canada’s commercial casinos every year, and it’s been this way since the activity was legalized so many decades ago.
Yes, gambling is one of the country’s most popular pastimes. With the national GDP on a steady incline, the amount of money we spend on this unique form of entertainment is sure to continue rising as well. How we partake in it, however, has been evolving since the dawn of the internet, so much so that the question of stability in the land-based gambling industry is questionable, at best.
Are Mobile Live Casinos the Final Frontier for Gambling in Canada?
The digital world is closing in all around us. Most of the regularly scheduled mundane tasks of old can now be completed in a few taps and swipes on our smartphones or tablets. We don’t go to the bank every week. We don’t write out cheques to pay the bills. Even our shopping needs can be completed online.
Sure, most of us still visit the market to pick out our own fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to buying non-consumables, more and more people are turning to Walmart.com or launching the Amazon Shopping app instead of physically entering a department store. I don’t see Wal-Mart closing any of its stores anytime soon, but how long before that reality sets in?
The same can be said of gambling establishments. Online gaming has been around for two decades, and for most of those years, the same argument has persisted. “Online gambling will cannibalize land-based casinos!”
It is that very charge that has led multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, owner of Las Vegas Sands Corp, to pour untold millions into the campaigns of any U.S. politician willing to speak out against the legalization if internet gambling. Right or wrong, we can’t fault the guy for protecting his investments.
Foreseeable Future Safe for Land-Based Casinos, but for How Long?
At the rate hand-held technology is growing – the speed at which society is converting to a digital lifestyle – who’s to say walk-in casinos won’t eventually disappear from terrestrial commerce?
Here in Canada, there’s been no evidence of iGaming being a threat to these provincial money-makers. Each province has a regulatory authority, a Crown Corporation, that controls all gaming within its borders. They generate millions of dollars for their respective governments each year; millions of dollars that would be sorely missed if the land-based gambling industry were to dry up.
That’s not a fear for the federal or local governments of Canada – at least, not as of now. Walk-in casinos aren’t falling apart; just the opposite, in fact. In some provinces, more and more gambling halls are opening up each year.
Ontario is ‘modernizing‘ its gaming industry as we speak. Commercial operators are being set in charge of the daily management duties so that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG) can focus on expansion, without footing the bill for it. Great Canadian Gaming and Gateway Casinos are responsible for most of the investments, pouring millions into the construction of new casinos, and expanding on the old ones.
If online gambling were a palpable threat to these businesses, no one would take that risk. That doesn’t mean the risk isn’t there, but let’s not forget, the gambling industry was born of risk. It’s all about weighing the consequences, and remember, the casino only takes a bet if it believes it has the edge.
What Will the Distant Future Hold for Canada’s iGaming Frontier?
Farther into the future, though, it is very possible that mobile gambling will rule the roost. After all, live dealer casinos bring the reality of a walk-in experience into the players home. Digital slot machines are the exact same as the ones on the gaming floor, minus the bulky cabinets. Poker games can be had, against live people, from the comfort of a home sofa. A bet on the ponies or the weekend’s sporting events is only a click away.
How long before the convenience of mobile live casinos and other wagering entertainments overtakes the terrestrial market? Gaming on smartphones and tablets already surpassed the desktop/laptop variety a few years back. This future may not be close enough to predict just yet, but the way I see it, there’s more than enough reason for land-based gaming corporations to worry about their long-term investments.