The state of Nevada has passed legislation legalizing online gambling and further paving the way to the day when it will be legal to lose (or win) all your money gambling on your phone.
Specifically, the legislation allows Nevada to move forward in allowing online poker legal in lieu of federal legislation and to create interstate compacts with other states to allow their citizens to gamble on Nevada-based online casinos.
Why am I sharing this on Gamezebo? Because every single social game company (especially the social casinos) are salivating at the chance to offer legalized gambling in their games.
The size of the market for social casinos is $1 billion a year, while online gambling is worth $35 billion a year. Hence, every game developer wants in on the action (morality tossed aside!). Zynga gets the most press for wanting to bet the farm on gambling (that line never gets old), but pretty much everyone else wants in as well.
This is still one small step of many to come for gambling to be legalized on your phone.
What will the Feds (and the Supreme Court) have to say? What about all those lobbyists (e.g,. Indian tribes) that have the most to lose by online gambling being made legal? Do the parents of America care that kids anyway could gamble away their life savings with the touch of a screen? And what does Apple or Google, the gatekeepers of mobile, have to say about this?
It’s still a pretty big small step forward. As the pioneer of land-based gaming, Nevada has the best expertise and regulatory infrastructure in the US which it can now share with other states to make online gambling happen.
The next likely outcome of this drama is that big states will follow Nevada’s lead. Nevada passed the legislation in record time in order to beat New Jersey who was about to pass similar legislation next week. And, smaller states will join forces to cooperate with states like Nevada to leverage Nevada’s gambling rules and regulation to make online poker legal, much in the same way states have banded together to allow horse-track betting legal.
Social game companies and casinos will continue to launch new games and try to acquire new users as quickly as possible before the gold rush seriously begins.
The flipside to online gambling being a market 35x the size of social casinos is that the cost per acquisition for a gambler is also astronomically higher.
If social and mobile gaming companies think the cost per install is too high today, get ready for legalized gambling, where the stakes will be much, much higher.