The question, is travel and online gambling breaking up, makes you ask out loud. Were they a thing? Yes, and no. When you reflect on the history of casinos, you will notice that travel was a tagged partner. Gambling was made possible by travel.
In the early 19th century, maritime Frenchmen would travel to New Orleans just to gamble. The voyages were then made by sea, but thanks to this partnership, the card deck was invented. Travel aided gambling in growth and technology.
Without the need to roll back time anymore, modern Las Vegas is a perfect example. The strip is all about casinos. Travel now becomes the means. Each year, hundreds of millions of players come to Las Vegas to gamble.
For many years it was the main way to wager. Traveling to the Vegas strip. The partners travel, and gambling pulled off remarkable revenue growth. The airlines fell in love with the strip just as the maritime Frenchmen did with New Orleans.
Only that now, the love relationship was not with the gamblers. It was with the industry. Each time Vegas finished a new casino, the airlines bought a new plane. When the strip added more hotels, the airlines demanded that Boeing create bigger planes.
Soon, the services expanded to twin-engine aircraft for shorter distances and even helicopters for beauty tours. Both industries were inseparable. Each helps the other to grow and expand.
Technology and Travel
In the middle twentieth century, the partners found greener grass. Casinos expanded to Georgia and several Indian reservations. The interchanges flourished as more Airlines merged to better fulfill the now oversized markets. Reacting to emerging technologies that allowed for easier booking and all-inclusive gambling services.
Here is what happened
- Amadeus launched a worldwide booking engine that allowed travel and gambling in a combined single pricing
- The eastern tourist flooded the Vegas and Atlanta casinos
- Airlines were overbooked for months at times
As more short-distance interstate flight companies launched, the bigger airlines quickly ate them up, and conglomerates were born. Gambling and travel continued their unbreakable dance.
Gambling was also advancing. The new software was developed to make it easier for the players to bet on their own. They could also use the token or direct cash which made it lighter on the cashiers and easier for the player.
Another growth angle saw a few bookies looking to venture offshore. The partners ignored them. This would not go far. Very soon, they would be back home. The players would not venture with them. It was the first error.
More bookies followed, and more offshore casinos were born. One notable casino from Pennsylvania was created by former wrestlers Dennis and Joe Atiyeh. The sportsbook was called Bet ESB – English Sports Betting.
It took center stage when the owner’s state-run weekly newspaper, the Las Vegas Sports News, openly marketed ESB. Soon companies like ESPN were running ads. Yet the killer moment came when USA Today ran a full-page ad for the company.
Technology and Gambling
In 1996, Microgaming created the first-ever online gaming software. Bettors could place a wager from the comfort of their homes or work. The offshore sportsbook and casino quickly went online. That year the same USA Today was the first to ask: Will Online Gaming Reduce Travel?’
The author did an opinion piece but made a point. A lot of those playing online would no longer need to travel to the strip.
In the early 2000s, empowered by new virtual processors, such as PayPal and Neteller, online gambling crossed the $10 billion mark. The US reacted fast creating new laws that would protect the Strip and travel.
It slapped PayPal with a $5 million fine, forcing it from the market until 2017 when it started processing gambling transactions again. At the same time, the US arrested and charged the owners of Neteller. Sending it to the European market.
But the offshore drain continued, and online casinos such as online-casinos.ph only, only got bigger.
That year another processor, Moneybookers, currently Skrill, entered the market. It did everything correctly and legal, and the US could not find a loophole to penalize it. So, offshore gaming flourished. Thanks to Dennis and Joe Atiyeh and the Las Vegas Sports News.
Technology and the Separating Partners
Technology bombed Japan into technology. But this time around it drove the Las Vegas travelers online. With the rapid rise of online gambling and fading revenue, the strip also went online. To make it worse, technology now flushed out Live Casinos!
The live casino games simulate Las Vegas casino tables with a live dealer. The strip is online. Not many more orders will be going over to Boeing soon.
All online casinos now offer Live casinos, in-game betting, and esports or fantasy games. Vegas no longer relies on the travel industry for clients. The Internet brings more and with fewer hassles. While the travel industry still flies gamblers to Las Vegas, it is looking to industries and events to fill the gap.
After the 2015 WSOP poker tournament, many US states started to open up their gambling doors. People could not bet on sports and online. Once approved, the domino effect drove the final nails into the travel coffin. No one really wanted to go to Vegas that much.
The online casino industry is now the largest sector of the gambling industry. It no longer has a competitor. The Las Vegas strip has joined it and has abandoned its old partner, as it locks into winning a market5 share.
The travel industry took another blow during the pandemic, while Gambling, though with a lower-than-projected performance, continued to grow. It has been a long partnership, and even though it is drastically reduced, there is still some show.
Gambling will continue to grow as the experts have predicted, soon to cross the trillion-dollar market line. When it does, it will have a new partner and leader, the Internet. And travel and Las Vegas will try to fit in.