Gambling In Quarantine Could Mean Big Money, If You Play Your Cards Right

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By Javon Dimitri

  • Atlantic City casinos and their partners brought in $483M from online games in 2019
  • In Virginia 5 proposed casinos would generate nearly $1 billion in combined annual net gaming revenue for operators

There could be a digital ace tucked in the casino industry’s sleeve, even after they were deemed nonessential and closed up shop. States have been facing pressure to find new sources of tax revenue, and now they might be amenable to allowing casinos to take games like poker, slots, and roulette online. While much of online gambling is still illegal nationwide, it generates revenue up to $1 billion. If the house always wins, can Black casino owners get ahead, or is the deck stacked too high against the industry?

Why This Matters: Online gambling is an untapped market in the U.S with pros and cons for the 6 states that have legalized online casino gambling. Although studies have shown minorities can be negatively affected by gambling disorders, at a rate twice that of any other ethnic group in the U.S, the path to fixing a lot of those problems could come down to ownership. In Virginia this year “five proposed casinos would generate nearly $1 billion in combined annual net gaming revenue for operators and more than $260 million annually in state gaming tax,” according to the Bristol Herald Courier. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an opportunity for Black people to participate in the economic development of those new casinos.

Digital casino games include virtual slots and roulette, along with poker, played for real money

Nearly every U.S. casino, including those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., has closed, leading to widespread layoffs and a sudden drop in state tax revenues. In 2018, the gaming industry contributed $261 billion to the U.S. economy. Specifically in New Jersey last year, Atlantic City casinos and their partners brought in $483 million from online games. Back in 2011, online gambling was limited to poker, though now these digital casino games include virtual slots and roulette, along with poker, played for real money.

Situational Awareness: A quick look down memory lane with Don H. Barden who was the first black man to own a Las Vegas casino, along with multiple other locations across the country. His Majestic Casinos holding company filed for bankruptcy during the 2009 recession. At their height, Barden’s companies had annual revenue of almost $350 million and employed over 4,000 people.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Javon Dimitri

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