ATLANTIC CITY — An established industry was dreadfully concerned about the
negative impact a new technology would have on its bottom line. Industry
titans conferred. Some thought it best to embrace this new technology. More
thought it best to ban any relationship. Bad for business, they huffed.
Ultimately, however, the industry decided to leave it to the individual
operators to set their own courses.
The industry: professional baseball.
The technology: radio.
The concern: Radio would hurt attendance. After all, who would make the
effort to take a subway ride to Ebbets Field, especially on a rainy day,
when they could just listen to the stentorian tones of Graham MacNamee
through their woofers?
After the 1933 season, the three New York teams banned all electronic
dissemination of their games — even Western Union telegrams — for five
years. Eventually, they relented, once their views of the bottom line
Radio, it seems, was not a threat. Rather, it was a new source of revenue as
clubs learned that they could charge broadcasters for the right to cover
games. At the same time, attendance did not suffer. Rather, ticket sales
rose as radio created more fans, who then thirsted for the real deal.
The analogy is perfect for the gaming industry, as it stands on its own
technological threshold. The Internet is viewed by some as an opportunity,
by others as a threat. And public officials don’t quite know what to do.
We have a simple answer: Relent. The Internet is not going away, so why not
embrace the inevitable? The Nevada Legislature’s decision to allow gaming
regulators to develop a framework for Internet gambling will someday be
viewed as landmark. It will be the first step that ultimately brought all
the walls tumbling down. More about Situs Judi Slot Online Terpercaya
Once the first bets are made in Nevada, other states will come around. So
will companies that want to participate in this market. Eventually, all
remaining stumbling blocks — including federal recalcitrance — will be
bowled over by states and gaming companies clamoring for a piece of a brand
Just as the relationship between baseball and broadcasting shifted from
love-hate to pure love, online wagering will become an essential element of
gaming’s bottom line.
And it will not adversely impact revenues at brick-and-mortar casinos, any
more than the sale of six packs hurts the revenues of taverns.
Two essential traits of human nature will ensure that brick-and-mortar
casinos have a permanent home on the economic landscape: One is the thrill
of risk-taking. Mozart enjoyed gambling. So did Julius Caesar and Lou
The other essential trait: Humans are social creatures. They like having fun
in crowds. Just because some individuals might like to gamble from home,
where they can play blackjack in their scivvies will not change that.
In the current issue of Gaming Industry Observer, we poll the sentiments of
industry leaders, regulators and consultants. Sebastian Sinclair of
Christiansen Capital Advisors reached a particularly salient conclusion:
“The question for regulators is not how to regulate Internet gambling, but
how much you want to regulate Internet gambling.”
Sinclair believes Internet gaming can be regulated more effectively than
brick-and-mortar casinos because, among other things, technology creates a
record of each transaction and offers the ability to ensure the fairness of
games. Moreover, rapidly improving technologies will make it easier — not
harder — to keep minors away, to exclude undesirables from playing and to
monitor problem gamblers.
Ultimately, jurisdictions throughout North America will put Sinclair’s
hypothesis to the test. They will learn to regulate Internet gambling
because they have to. It’s only a question of when.
If the radio analogy was not enough to convince you, here is another.
Hollywood once loathed another new technology: Television. Studio bosses
warned that audiences who could watch Milton Berle for free would not bother
to visit the local Rialto. And, for awhile, that was true.
Eventually, though, Hollywood embraced television. Studios produced
programming for the new medium, and found new outlets for their archives of
old films. At the same time, TV offered the most effective means of
marketing their latest films.
And humans, those herd creatures, got tired of staying home. They hired
sitters to watch their baby-boom children, and rediscovered the fun of
nights out on the town. So, multiplexes were built, and Hollywood’s biggest
blockbusters were born.
The lesson is quite simple. Embrace the Internet. It will create new sources
of revenue. It can be regulated effectively. And ultimately it will make all
those grown-up baby boomers hanker for the real thing.