Although I agree with some of Mr. Porter’s assertions, Internet Gaming will not go away just because Tribes will not accept it or because they do not want it to occur. I agree that Tribes have invested billions of dollars in their casinos but Congress and State Governments will have little concern for our investments. With the millions of dollars that are or will be spent on lobbying efforts, our arguments about our investments will be diminished and set aside. All that Tribes will hear from State Governments is, go ahead and protest but those protests will fall on the deaf ears of a State that wants to realize revenues from gaming. Many States will see Internet Gaming as a way to develop a casino without actually having to build one and will allow them to expand gaming in their State that they feel is already inundated with too many Tribal Casinos. If we believe this will be a fair and equitable playing field, IT WILL NOT BE FAIR OR EQUAL, the states will realize profitability, either by controlling internet gaming and sharing in the profits with the licensee or just by charging exorbitant fees/licenses for the right to provide internet gaming in their state. Either way the States will find a way to benefit from gaming and will have little to no regard for the impact of the investments made by Tribe's for their Tribal casinos. Let’s all face the one truth of internet gaming, this is truly a State and probably in the very near future a National expansion of gaming. Internet gaming is coming and tribes need to realize it and try to take economic advantage of it or they will be left playing catch up to an evolving industry that will invest millions if not billions of dollars to capture this lucreative market. It is my contention that Tribes need to embrace the inevitable rush of internet gaming and carve out their share and offset the potential revenue loss to our current casinos. It should be a Tribes goal to sustain our casinos until the social gambler realizes they lose their money to fast on the Internet and comes back to the casinos (this is truly conjecture and we may just lose a segment of our market share that we will not be able to bring back). I realize that it is very difficult for Tribes to consider a partnership and revenue share with the States but this may be a real option for maintaining control of gaming for the Tribes and something Tribes and Tribal Coalitions should seriously consider and not dismiss out of hand. Rural casinos should see much less impact then an urban casino but never-the-less all gaming will be affected by the intrusion of internet gaming. Will States care that Tribal gaming is negatively impacted by internet gaming, maybe some (those states that have a percentage share of Tribal Gaming revenue) but not many. The initial push for poker on the internet will have some impact on casino’s maybe not the 25% indicated in Mr. Porters report but every poker player lost is a potential slot player not in the casino. However, if table games and full slot play are approved for internet gaming, there will definitely be an impact on Tribal gaming revenue and the Tribal casinos. I don't buy the “if poker is approved it will help the casinos”, the poker bubble has burst and the Internet may revitalize poker in the casino to a certain degree but the future of poker will more likely be driven by the internet. Traditional poker has become a media event and has introduced a younger player who will be much more prone to internet gambling. I just attended NIGA and was in a workshop called Generation Net or Net Gen, and they had a forward looking gaming hypothesis concerning the younger population that communicates through their I-pads and I-phones. The socialization of poker will and can be realized over the internet and the Net Gen population will embrace on-line poker. I believe they are a herald of things to come for Indian and non-Indian gaming with this segment of our population. Tribes that want to believe and hope internet gaming goes away, will be left out of this new gaming trend/phenomena. Internet gaming is not just a trend of the future but an evolution of today’s gaming environments and it is my belief that Tribes need to fight hard to find their niche in this new gaming environment. Instead of spending millions of dollars to keep internet gaming out, Tribes may want to invest those resources in finding way’s of inclusion in this new gaming horizon. Using the poker vernacular, Rebelling and struggling against internet gaming will only deal Tribe’s a potentially disastrous losing hand.
Monday, April 8, 2013 - 17:09