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

changed.

 

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

new pie.

 

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

Costello.

 

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.