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Online gambling in the United States is more popular than ever. Because of the outbreak of the Corona virus, casinos all over the country are closing their doors. Online gambling is still allowed though, so it’s a bright spot in dark days for the casino industry.
Recent figures are telling: the total revenue from online gambling, excluding sports betting, in New Jersey increased by more than 65 percent in a few months. The state reported that online gambling earned casinos 65 million dollars. A lot of revenue has been generated from slot machines and table games, such as Baccarat and Blackjack. It comes as no surprise that New Jersey is one of the leading U.S. states in online gambling.
According to Morgan Stanley, a company that analyzes games, the Corona virus could lead to a legalization of online casinos and sports betting in more American states. Currently only a small number of states allow online gambling, including Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Jersey. In total Americans can gamble online in fifteen states.
Online gambling revenues, excluding sports betting, are expected to exceed 700 million dollars in New Jersey this year. A big difference with 2019, when revenues were 483 million dollars. The increase is due to more gamblers deciding to visit online casinos instead of traditional casinos. The number of online sports betting has increased as well. The fact that everyone has to stay at home because of Covid-19 obviously plays a role in this development.
2020 is not a good year for fans of traditional sports betting on a real-life location. For example, horse racing only takes place in just a few places in the United States, like Gulfstream Park in Florida. Other sports that are still open to betting include darts, pro basketball from Taiwan and table tennis from Russia.
Online sports betting collapsed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, investors remain enthusiastic about the Diamond Eagle Acquisition (DEAC). This company has an agreement to merge with internet sports betting leader DraftKings.
The merger with DraftKings was announced at the end of 2019. After approval from the share holders, the company will change its name to DraftKings. This combined with the outbreak of Covid-19 has lead to an increase of the shares of Diamond Eagle Acquisition (DEAC) with USD 16.58, which is an increase of 50 percent this year. It is certainly not the only share that has risen sharply. Many casino shares have risen by 40 percent or more so far.
Diamond Eagle has a huge market value of USD 5.8 billion based on a fully diluted share number of approximately 347 million. This is significantly above the market value of Penn National Gaming (PENN) and Eldorado Resorts (ERI), which is between USD 1 and 2 billion. It also exceeds the market value of Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR), which is approximately $5 billion.
The shareholders of Diamond Eagle have to vote on the merger on Thursday. The strong Diamond Eagle share price shows the increasing enthusiasm of investors for online sports betting. DraftKings and FanDuel play a major role in this development. Both parties are supervised by Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY).
Most online sports betting is done on mobile phones. It is expected that as soon as professional sports are resumed, people will bet more often on their mobile phones. Before the Corona crisis, people often chose to visit a traditional casino, with slot machines and traditional games such as Craps and Blackjack. Perhaps Covid-19 will bring about a change in behavior and a further increase in online gambling.
Barron’s wrote a story earlier this year about the increasing popularity of online sports betting. Covid-19 is likely to have a negative effect on the state budget. It will force states to look for new sources of taxes. One way is to legalize online casinos and online sports betting. In addition, the legalization and rollout of online gambling is much faster than building land casinos. Massachusetts is a good example of this. Finally, online can compensate the loss of income during Covid-19 and social distancing to a certain extent.
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