Online Casinos: The New Frontier in Digital Real Estate?

Posted on Jul 03, 2017 10:54 AM EDT
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Online Casinos: The New Frontier in Digital Real Estate?

While the traditional land-based casinos still attract tourists from across the world, investors have started to turn towards online gaming sites as a means of investments. Have online casinos become the next frontier in digital real estate?

In the Beginning...

Perhaps you could call gambling one of the oldest activities in the world, with a history spanning centuries across multiple continents. As far back as 40,000 years ago, people used to gamble on dice-like objects made of bone. Different forms of gambling sprung up in other ancient cultures, most notably in China and Italy. Later, casinos brought all these forms together under one roof.

Although the oldest casino stands in Venice, Italy, today we associate the ultimate casinos with none other than Las Vegas. Home to massive casino resorts like the Bellagio, Venetian-Palazzo, and Caesars Palace, it's no wonder that travellers flock to Sin City from all around the world.

However, it seems the glory days of Las Vegas and other US gaming cities have begun to dwindle in the past few decades. The housing bubble and subsequent economic crash of 2008 took a toll on the country's real estate market, leaving many Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos bankrupt. After the crash, Vegas and its surrounding areas became a center for foreclosure and unemployment.

Casino Real Estate Goes International

After the crash, leading real estate developers looked elsewhere to invest. In the past 10 years, Asian cities like Macau and Singapore have surpassed Las Vegas as the world's leading centers for casino real estate. Vegas moguls including Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, started to bring their money east, building colossal casino resorts such as the multi-billion dollars Venetian Macao, currently the world's largest casino.

The same company built the world's most expensive standalone casino property, the Marina Bay Sands Casino. Worth an estimated $8 million, the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore has attracted tourists with its lavish gaming halls and world-famous 150m (490 ft) infinity pool overlooking the cityscape.

Asia hasn't been the only country to benefit from the growth of casino real estate outside of the United States. Canada has a gaming industry of its own, worth over a whopping $15 billion. The famous Fallsview Casino in Ontario Canada represents a $1 billion complex overlooking Niagara Falls.

The Growth of Online Gaming

Recent trends show that the growth in casino real estate continues to slow down as a new market takes over: the world of online gaming. Gambling sites like 888 Casino offer a completely virtual version of the casino that anyone can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes, or even on the go via their mobile device. These full-fledged digital versions of the casino include poker rooms, tournaments, and all of the most popular casino games. Most sites even live stream, human dealers in real-time from a casino. With that level of convenience, it's no wonder that the market has shifted away from land-based casinos towards digital gaming sites.

The gaming industry has changed a lot in the past several decades. Less and less real estate developers invest money in large-scale gaming establishments like those in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Instead, many businesses have put their money into the digital version of the casino. Furthermore, gambling sites which share information about online casinos, provide us a glimpse into what a $47 billion market looks like - and that number is projected to grow to almost $60 billion by 2020. With statistics like that, it seems that now is the best time to invest.

No one can predict the future. However, it seems safe to say that online casinos have become the next frontier in digital real estate. If trends continue - across both the digital landscape and the online gaming landscape - those who invest today in online casinos will surely turn a substantial profit.

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