Every research and consulting firm this side of the Pacific Ocean has been conducting studies and authoring their own predictions of what the future of online gambling has in store for US states and operators. Among them, Eiler’s Research has produced the most realistic (but notably swelled) results to date. The latest publication from Adam Krejcik of Eiler’s offers a potentially bleak forecast over the market’s next 5 years, but an undeniably believable one when considering the underwhelming impact of last year’s operational undertakings in three states.
Entitled, “U.S. iGaming Outlook for 2015 & Beyond”, the document will run you $750 to view in its entirety, but the gist of it should be enough to strike apprehension in the hearts of state regulators, investors and online poker operators alike.
Last year, Adam Krejcik’s projection for the US online poker market was well below that of state officials and so-called experts. Just in the state of New Jersey, some predicted as much as $1.2 billion from online gambling in the first year alone. And despite being much closer to the actual mark, the research firm still overestimated the results by near 30%. Last year’s study predicted a low-end result of $191 million in 2014, which turned out to be just $135 million from the online gambling markets in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
In Krejcik’s defense, when the December 2013 report came out, it was still assumed that many more states would be hopping aboard the online poker bandwagon in the coming years. On year down the road, Krejcik now believes that a few other states may go live with iGaming in the next five years, but not too many. His report gave a Bull Case estimate that included the addition of online poker in Pennsylvania in 2017, California in 2018, New York in 2019, and Massachusetts and Connecticut in 2020.
Should the Bull Case estimates ring true, and the above named states legalize online poker on Krejcik’s schedule, Eiler’s estimates the industry will grow to $663 million by 2020; a figure that is still well below the research firm’s prior Base Case prediction of nearly $2b in the same amount of time. However, if no new states choose to regulate iGaming in the next 5 years, the study anticipates very minimal growth, capping at just $186 million – a mere $51 million higher than the US online poker market produced in 2014.
In explanation of the existential relegation of industry potential, Krejcik noted, “The short answer is revenue expectations were unrealistic, new forms of online entertainment have emerged as a viable alternative, the state-by-state rollout is inherently flawed and no, we do not expect things to improve in any meaningful way.”
The newly emerging forms of entertainment Krejcik referred to were, in particular, “social casino games” and “Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)”. The researcher said their evolving popularity has “attracted many players and served as a viable alternative” for online poker and casino enthusiasts who were cut off from their former pastime somewhere between the UIGEA of 2006 and Black Friday of 2011.