Study: Online Casinos Would Create More Jobs In Indiana

Posted on February 28, 2024

A new study on iGaming proposes that jobs could be created – not destroyed – if an Indiana online casino market is legalized.

Unfortunately, it looks to be a while before lawmakers consider online casinos. With no bill coming in 2024, the process will not begin sooner than January 2025 unless something unforeseen occurs.

Some are concerned that iGaming would take away jobs at retail casinos in Indiana. The Spectrum Gaming Group’s study showed that not only would most jobs at retail casinos remain, but some casinos might actually grow their workforce after online casino gaming is legalized.

Keeping live-dealer games in state could produce the most jobs, study says

Until Indiana online casinos become legal, players can participate in sweepstakes and social casinos online. Most award prizes which can be redeemed for real money.

The Spectrum study said online casinos with live-dealer gaming would produce the most jobs. If Indiana lawmakers legislatively forced iGaming operators to operate live-dealer games only in Indiana, up to 800 jobs could be created, according to the study.

Concerning job creation, the study included testimony from four Indiana casino operators that run online casinos in other states.

The first operator claimed the launch of iGaming in New Jersey created four new jobs at the retail casino and another 80 jobs from online casinos.

The second operator said it used marketing tools to push iGaming bettors to its retail casino. That led to more casino job openings. In total, 13 people were hired, which increased payroll by $552,000 annually. The third operator did not provide specifics but claimed that iGaming increased visits to its casino, which increased the number of employees.

The fourth operator saw no change in casino employment across multiple states that legalized iGaming, but 183 jobs in New Jersey and another 182 jobs in Pennsylvania were created directly for online casinos.

Retail casinos could use online gaming to attract younger bettors

The Spectrum study claims that even without live-dealer gaming, online casinos would have no significant impact on casino employment. The study report did admit that iGaming could limit growth of retail casinos, however.

“Although from a national perspective the iGaming sample size is small, with only six states participating in full iGaming at this time, it is evident that the addition of iGaming without live-dealer gaming in those states has impacted direct employment – negligibly at the casinos themselves and modestly at the newly launched digital operations.

“That said, the iGaming results to date in other iGaming states suggest that it is possible that iGaming may be limiting the ordinary growth of retail casino revenues.”

Another reason that Spectrum Gaming Group is confident jobs will not be lost is that online casinos appeal to a different age demographic. The report states that iGaming could help casinos appeal to a younger audience if the online casinos were linked to retail casino operators. That could mean more business for brick-and-mortar casinos, now and into the future.

“Digital gaming can be an effective means of attracting a broader demographic. Marketing to that demographic can encourage on-site visitation, which could lead to further capital investment, greater employment, and growth in multiple fiscal streams, beyond the taxes generated by digital gaming itself.

“When retail casino operators offer iGaming, they can be expected to leverage the digital offering to enhance and grow their retail revenue by marketing their amenities and their loyalty programs to a broader demographic.”

The Spectrum report estimated that Indiana online casinos could generate $880 million annually.

Other states have proven that jobs can be created through live-dealer gaming

Job creation through the addition of live-dealer online gaming has been proven to work. Four of the states that offer live-dealer games online require that they be played within the state.

Most live-dealer operations in the US are provided through a third party. Sweden-based Evolution AB has five live-dealer studios in Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Between those four states, the company employs 2,620 people. PlayTech, which is based in the Isle of Man, has more than 100 employees at its live-dealer facilities in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New Jersey currently has four live-dealer studios operated by three different companies.

West Virginia is a good example of what could be lost if live-dealer studios are not built in the state. All live-dealer studios that serve West Virginia are in Philadelphia, where 520 occupational licenses have been issued to gaming employees. Those 520 jobs could have gone to West Virginians if live-dealer games were required to take place in the state.

Maryland iGaming bills also require live-dealer games be played in the state only

There are currently two bills filed to legalize online casinos in Maryland. While there are some differences between the two pieces of legislation, each bill specifies that any live-dealer studios that serve Maryland bettors must be operated in Maryland.

Additionally, both Maryland iGaming bills do not allow live-dealer studios to be on casino property. That makes certain that casino space is not appropriated for iGaming, which could lead to job loss.

The Spectrum study concludes that iGaming does not cannibalize retail casino jobs as long as safeguards are in place.

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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Nuggets as a beat writer. He regularly contributes to PlayIndiana on issues surrounding the online gambling market. His byline can be seen at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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