With many online gaming companies having a feel good factor at the moment due to many states considering the legalization of online gambling, there's a little bit more good news to throw in too. With Nevada having given the green light to online poker, New Jersey joining them within a few weeks and Delaware stating that it will be September there's a little excitement as to where this will lead. PokerStars are looking the most likely to capitalize on things with a clean record with the DoJ and the purchase of the Atlantic Club Casino in the Garden State looking likely. There's even rumors that Stars will be holding WSOP style events after the purchase. However to make this all work then more than just a few customers will be required and here's the good news. AlixPartners a business advisory company has recently conducted a study that shows 35% of active gamblers would gamble online if it were legal. We are not saying here that it is illegal, that's another discussion.
The survey reached out to 1,031 adult Americans who had expressed an interest in gambling and came from a generally representative sample of the US population. The survey looked at online and offline gambling and the connection between the two, with some surprising results. A mere 15% of gamblers said that there visits to the bricks and mortar would reduce if online gambling was to become legal. 57% of those asked said that they were more likely to wager online if the online casino was owned by a recognized casino brand, i.e Caesars Palace. A large amount of 58% said that they would be attracted to online casinos that allowed them to use loyalty points and rewards in the bricks and mortar casinos. The last point seems to be where some companies are heading and I am sure I'm not the first person to think about buying a few beers or booking a room at the Atlantic Club with my PokerStars FPP's. It's a great concept and good business model combining both your offline and online business. The AlixPartners study also looks at what online customers look at when signing up to online casinos, poker rooms etc and found that the following were the most important from a customers perspective. Firstly, ease of registration, and it's easy to see why as no-one likes elongated forms to fill in that end with an unreadable captcha! Secondly came navigation, followed by lack of wait times for desired activities. Presumably the third point relates to Sit n Go tournaments and the likes. Then we have availability of options at desired wagering levels and last up was security of financial information and deposited funds. It's a sensible 'wish list' and one that most online poker rooms and casino attempt to address.
To date, there are approximately 400 casinos welcoming US players. While some may have closed and others closed and re-opened; you would have to agree that there are more online casinos for US players than ever before. What is the catalyst that caused this unbelievable amount of casinos? Four factors come to mind: Bitcoins, Mobile Gambling, Instant Play/Flash, and Welcome Bonuses.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Bitcoin Factor (as I call it) paved the way for US players to fund their online casino accounts which, in turn, caused new US casinos to open their doors to them. Imagine being able to make deposits without worrying about banks and other institutions declining and thus shutting out US players. Bitcoin funding is safe, secure, and lends the players anonymous. In fact, Bitcoin is #1 in the world as far as funding is concerned. We are now seeing exclusive Bitcoin casinos launching, and worldwide Bitcoin funding is now viable for players. Moreover, we are also seeing additional cryptocurrencies being added to the Bitcoin field of deposits. Even the Bitcoin bonuses are rising to a level we have not seen before.
When I began reviewing online casinos 10 years ago, we had a year when the UIGEA Law forced many US casinos to leave. Yet, only one remained – Real Time Gaming. After the UIGEA Law was repealed, many of those US casinos who left came back. But what really sealed the deal for online gambling in the US is the Mobile Revolution. Every day, US casinos are adding Mobile casinos to their sites. This is due to the fact that Mobile Devices have also paved the way for more gamblers to access online casinos anywhere and at anytime. Thus the explosion of new mobile casinos have somewhat taken over the PC action for gamblers.
A decade ago, you wouldn’t have found as many Instant Play/Flash casinos as you do today. The competition among these 400 US casinos is fierce. Thus they have no choice but to offer players a small opening with which they can test out the games, usually with a No Deposit Bonus, and hopefully players will join. Most all of our major online casinos for US players offer this feature and it is one that has given online casinos the wherewithal to offer players more and more gateways to their casinos.
The final straw that is breaking the back of land-based casinos is the welcome bonuses offered by online casinos. This, plus the Return to Player Percentages are the highest we have seen. Land-based casinos couldn’t possibly match what online casinos are offering. Thus, when US casinos launch they really have much more to offer their online players from the US. The welcome bonuses are bigger while the new trend of added free spins to the bonus has taken hold.
At a time when we only had one US casino, the 400 casinos we now have are waging their own war as to how much they are offering online players AND ensuring that US players are welcome. Look no further than Sunshine Slots where we review every new casino regardless of whether it’s for US players or not; and you will see the incredible spike in casinos welcoming US players, Bitcoins as payment methods; Mobile casinos; Instant Play/Flash Casinos and, of course, the all important bonuses and promotions.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible software developers in this article. They too have become part and parcel of US casinos so that instead of one software provider; we are seeing multiple providers powering the US casinos. This is a big boon for US players and for online casinos that welcome them.