As the Entertainment Capital of the World, our city’s economy and industries were more than relieved to return to some form of normalcy. After all, tourism, leisure, and entertainment are what draw so many visitors from around the globe to Las Vegas. However, one overlooked aspect is how our businesses innovated and continued to cater to patrons throughout the pandemic. This is in large part due to digital apps in the heavily-growing sports betting world. In fact, as we move forward, these technological offerings are expanding local businesses’ revenues by allowing them to bring in more money from out of state. Sports betting apps are creating many new opportunities in the gaming industry and influencing how casinos are investing their capital. All of this will define what the sector will look like as we move towards a post-Covid world. 

An Athletic Reopening 

Some of our city’s largest casinos and brands recently made massive investments in the sports betting space. They include Caesars Entertainment, Station Casinos, and Bet MGM, amongst others. In April, Caesars Entertainment purchased William Hill, a company that offers online sports betting and gambling games. As part of the deal, Caesars Entertainment launched a sports betting app; Caesars Sportsbook which is currently available in eight states. The company also revamped its local app, which serves Nevada betters. On the in-person retail level, Caesars rebranded William Hill’s sportsbooks that operate within its properties. Amongst them are Bally’s, the Linq Hotel, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, and others. Moreover, Station Casinos is expanding its presence in this arena. Patrons can now enjoy a wider selection of newly-added sports betting kiosks when they visit Station’s locations in the Las Vegas Valley. Equally as important, the company recently introduced its new app, STN Sports. Bet MGM, meanwhile, is partnering with Cheddar News to create a TV program. The new show, called Cheddar Bets, focuses on how the sports calendar and related betting activity may impact stock prices. 

Above all, the timing of this coincides with our city’s reopening, which certainly benefits many casinos and businesses. These offerings are even more advantageous because the Gambling Capital of the World became a major sports hub this summer. To give a prominent example, on August 1st, Allegiant Stadium hosted the final of the 2021 Gold Cup, in which the U.S. beat Mexico to win the grandest men’s soccer tournament in North America. Las Vegas also held some of the biggest Olympics watch parties in the country. Our gaming industry, with its revamped betting infrastructure, got a much-needed post-pandemic boost from the flock of out-of-state and international sports fans who were visiting the city. Yet unlike previous major events, casinos and betting firms will retain their patrons’ business after they leave Sin City. To put it another way, the new apps, along with Bet MGM’s soon-to-be-launched program, will keep sports enthusiasts engaged in the long-term. This also brings in additional money from out of state (even after betters go home), increases customer retention, and gives tourists more reasons to visit again in the future. 

The Pandemic and Sports Betting 

The gaming industry’s focus on sportsbook offerings is not new. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for online sports betting exploded. For example, in February, almost eight million Super Bowl LV watchers used gambling apps to place wagers. The number of betters rose by nearly 63% in comparison to 2020’s Super Bowl LIV. In the following month, almost 50 million people placed online wagers on March Madness. This is three times higher than the number of bets placed in 2019. In the face of these new trends, our city and state’s gambling industry finds itself in a competitively advantageous position. 

First of all, Nevada has some of the most lax sports betting laws in the U.S. Although more states are moving to legalize this activity, some of Las Vegas’s largest gambling businesses already have a foothold on this market. Amongst them are Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. These companies’ renowned global reputation, alongside the renovated digital apps, will allow these companies to bring money into the local market as they expand their out-of-state clientele. 

Secondly, the return of in-person gambling doesn’t have to come at the expense of online betting. As previously mentioned, sports betting apps will allow local casinos to continue to cater to their patrons, even after they leave Vegas. If anything, the apps could boost customer retention in the form of returning tourists. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, many people are still reluctant to travel or visit businesses in-person because of ongoing concerns about the Delta variant. While the gaming industry waits for travel demand to return to its pre-pandemic levels, their sports betting apps will allow them to continue to generate revenues. In fact, this may help them sustain their profits even in the worst-case scenario, which entails a return to some Covid-related restrictions on businesses. 

In a Few Words: Sports Betting and the Gaming Industry 

The Covid-19 pandemic redefined the operational models of many companies and organizations. Las Vegas’s casinos and gaming businesses are no exception. The growing interest in sports betting, alongside massive investments in related technologies, will reap long-term benefits. This goes beyond efficiently weathering future pandemic-related storms. Thanks to new apps and technological innovations, the gaming industry will continue to cater to tourists (regardless of their location). They could also boost out-of-town visitor retention. In short, whether you’re an athletics enthusiast or not, there is a lot to look forward to in the sports betting space.