Smaller Nevada Casinos skeptical of Online Gambling

Published on: December 12, 2010 

There are currently many small casinos in the rural parts of Nevada who are worried that if online gambling becomes legal they will fall into greater financial distress.  They fear that the legalization of Internet Poker will result in many more players gambling online and in the process, stealing their customers away.  The larger, corporately owned Las Vegas casinos who will in all probability secure the limited licenses will, however, stand to make a profit.

Bill Hughes, marketing director of Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno feels that although it may be the future, it is hard to regulate and he does not think it is good for Nevada.

These fears are being felt since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. began pushing efforts recently to legalize online poker games but restrict initial licenses to those casino and racetrack operators who have been in business for a period of not less than five years.

Jonathan Halkyard, speaking for Caesars Entertainment Corp stated that although he sees support in Congress for legalizing online poker he does not see support for Internet gaming.  He added that there is already a huge illegal online business in the United States.

Halkyard, whose company was previously called Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. and manages or owns 52 casinos in 12 U.S. states as well as in 6 other countries with revenue of $8.9 billion during 2009 thinks that it makes a lot of sense to legalize online poker.

Lt.Gov Brian Krolicki, who oversees the state’s tourist efforts, said that he realized that there were concerns that online poker could lead to more gambling on the Internet but that he thinks that most casino operations in the state support legalizing online poker as a practical move forward.

General Manager of the Bonanza Casino in Reno, Ryan Sheltra, feels that online poker will hurt every brick-and-mortar casino in the state and that casinos in Washoe County have already been through an “absolute bloodbath” with revenues declining in 37 of the last 39 months.

Co-chairman and CEO of the Monarch Casino Resort Inc. which owns the Atlantis in Reno revealed that gambling revenue has gone down 29 percent in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area since 2000 and that after producing $1 billion in revenue a decade ago it now produces $700 million.

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