Top 10 trends for 2016 (in order of prominence)
1. With the exception of the Las Vegas market, casino expansion occurring in the Northeast US demonstrates that bricks-and-mortar casinos parallel the gravity-effect of the retail industry in that convenience trumps all else with respect to demand and visitation to regional casinos, further saturating that market. As revenues stagnate or decline, gaming operators in various states will seek tax relief and other remedies.
2. The legal and regulatory issues involving daily fantasy sports will continue to be prominent in statehouses across the country while the DFS industry moves to implement a self-regulation model in response to challenges to its legality.
3. State lotteries, seeking grow revenues in the crowded gambling space, will push to sell their games online — and develop games specifically suited for online sales and play.
4. Atlantic City — which faces the likelihood of a 10th straight year of declining gaming revenue — will have more clarity by year end, as the future of Revel, Showboat and Trump Taj Mahal properties become known and the State of New Jersey tries again to authorize a vote in casinos in the northern part of the state.
5. More states, seeking to recover or enhance gambling receipts, will follow the lead of Illinois by considering retail gaming, which is the installation of a limited number of electronic gaming devices in authorized establishments.
6. Junkets and VIP room operators in Macau will be under increased revenue pressure until they change their business model and comply with Chinese laws and procedures for high-value patron play. With four new properties expected to open in 2016 (Parisian, Wynn, MGM, Louis XIII), all eyes will be focused on whether this new supply can grow the Macau market — with revenues expected to stabilize at US$26 billion — or be another factor contributing to its constraint.
7. Gaming operators will begin to focus their attention on how to attract millennials as an emerging generation of consumers.
8. The US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Financial Intelligence Units and international law enforcement will continue to aggressively combat money laundering in casinos.
9. Financial institutions will continue to monitor their casino clients to ensure full compliance with agreements made with banking regulators in the United States and Europe.
10. Gaming expansion will continue throughout Australia and Southeast Asia, but it remains unlikely that Japan will legalize casino gaming in 2016.