A peek at the future of sports wagering; Japan reaches an exciting level

A peek at the future of sports wagering; Japan reaches an exciting level

July 24, 2018 3:10 AM


As more states continue to seriously consider adding sports wagering to their legalized gaming options, old dinosaurs such as myself find their phones ringing with calls from a range of regulators, legislators, inventors and speculators trying to understand what the short term and long term of sports wagering will look like in their respective jurisdictions or areas of market interest.

Sadly, the short term is obvious, adopt regulations similar to Nevada or New Jersey, over supply the market place with operators, then in the course of time see some consolidation. Some national gaming operators will encourage their host gaming jurisdictions to allow pooling their risk management and revenues across jurisdictional boundaries.

Meanwhile the sports leagues will likely continue their pursuit of a piece of the action and eventually mount an aggressive campaign at the federal level and likely seek, either through tax or national permitting, the ability to either get a rake of the action or directly engage in sports or pari-mutuel sports wagering.

No matter how the short-term goes, at some future point in time and likely similar to the US and international stock markets, over the long-term there will need to be a centralization of operations and wagering clearing.

On the way to that distant inevitability there will be a wide variety of alternative and creative options for the betting public to get a bet down. Traditional walk up betting counters and more contemporary mobile phone applications are likely to take on the majority of wagering, but inventors are already hard at it trying to provide the next access options.

One system I was shown recently used a slot machine platform.  As long as the player had their player card in, it allowed betting on sports from their slot credits and redemption of winning wagers to a slot machine.

While the notion of having the benefits of account wagering without the regulatory hassle of setting up an account and instant access through a slot machine is appealing, it is highly unlikely regulators at either the national or state levels will allow the ability for anonymous players to place sports wagers. While a player card could be a form of account, the current standards of getting a player card are much less than are required for a full on sports wagering account.

While I hated to burst the inventor’s bubble on the particular and seemingly innovative notion, my point to the inventor and their slot manufacturing sponsor was do not look at short term solutions to a non-existent problem but look to the inevitabilities of sports wagering looking more like a stock exchange and design systems and solutions accordingly to facilitate bettors and bookmakers, over the long-term, to make and manage their bets on a nationwide if not international basis.

Japan Getting Exciting

Anyone watching the progression of legal casino gambling in Japan through the Japanese legislature might think they were watching a race between a tortoise and a sloth. “Slow” is not a good descriptive for the process. “Silly” maybe, after all, why should it take so much time to define the parameters of something the government has already decided to permit?

Those familiar with the Japanese legislative process, when asked, just smiled and explained that when things move this slow it is usually more about how to structure circumstances such to give such lucrative opportunities to the political supporters of the dominant parties, and as such when the “table is set” things will then move very quickly.

Quickly is right, after the seemingly endless delay almost suddenly the Japanese legislature approved up to three integrated casinos for the country this past Friday.

Having personally expected the Japanese legislative process to have arrived at this point years ago it is now getting interesting to speculate as to which, if any, Las Vegas gaming operators among the other global contenders will score a prized casino in Japan.

Domestic Japanese and international politics will likely weigh as heavy as cash and experience in the final selection of Japan’s first set of casino operators.

June, July Slot Revenue

Slot revenue for casinos is generally a pure exercise in mathematics. The greater the volume of wagers through a slot machine, the truer and closer to the mathematically designed advantage of the slot game the results will be.

So unlike with table games where the run of luck can have a material impact on the results in a casino in a given month, slot results rarely widely fluctuate from game play but vary based on the volume of play in the casino. And, volumes of casino play in June and July have been huge.

Casino customer activity both in the tourist and the locals Las Vegas markets has been higher than in a very long time. So, if baccarat numbers are consistent with last year, it is very possible gaming revenue in both the local and tourist segments of the Las Vegas market, particularly in slots, could be surprisingly high for the traditionally slow gaming summer months.