Editorial

Which states now allow online gambling and why?


2018, the year of change for gambling in the U.S.

Gambling in the U.S. has been a controversial subject. What most outside of the States fail to know is that the legal environment for gambling in the U.S. is unlike any other country. Online gambling in particular has been mostly illegal in the majority of states, that was until as recently as 2018.

It was at this time that the Supreme Court ruled to remove the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and instead enabled each state to decide whether or not to legalize gambling themselves. As time passes by, Americans’ views are becoming much more accepting and, in some cases, quite welcoming after seeing the positive effects that its legalization can bring.

What, Where, and Why?

The new rules in place allow for each state to set the legal terms on gambling. Gambling is a broad spectrum and while the U.S.’s gambling scene is famously centered around the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the country can now develop in the areas of sports betting, online poker, and online casinos. Unfortunately, the progress is still slow as all, but three states are yet to accept all three of these forms of online gambling.

Some states have pounced and embraced the new changes, whereas others are still having cold feet. As mentioned, only three states have legalized all three forms of online gambling. The three states are Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey who have been campaigning for these changes for several years. With a willingness to push their gambling economies further, you’ll find many sportsbooks specifically for residents of Pennsylvania. Some of the other states to follow suit (along with the 3 mentioned already) in the area of online sports betting are;

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

As the list of states accepting online gambling grows, views on the matter begin to shift. What was once considered a taboo and highly controversial topic, Americans are now starting to see that regulation of the market is both economically and socially beneficial, rather than leaving it all behind closed doors. However, two states remain defiant to keep gambling banned and are not looking likely to budge any time soon.

The economic benefits are a big reason for why the rules were changed in the first place. After seeing the contributions this industry can have to an economy, for example, looking across the pond to the success of the U.K.’s gambling industry as the perfect benchmark for the U.S. Back in 2020, it was predicted that the revenue generated from online gambling had the potential to reach $41.2 billion, with $8.4 billion going towards the state, local, and federal tax. From this revenue, it is expected that a massive $22.4 billion of that revenue will come from online sports betting alone. With all this, the job creation both directly and indirectly could be hugely significant, with the potential for 216,671 new jobs. With numbers like these, it’s an attractive proposition for the U.S., at least if it can protect the social side of the industry.

Fortunately for those concerned, there are lots of arguments showing the many social benefits that come with legalizing online gambling. As the industry becomes regulated, safety will be a large part of it and responsible gambling is strongly preached. Many help solutions, therefore, come out of this and those with issues no longer have to keep it quiet. It also allows for greater security which does not exist when the industry is illegally operating in the shadows. As more and more companies move into the U.S. gambling world, the more competition there is to be the site of choice for customers. One of the ways to get ahead of the competition, as shown in other geographical markets, is to offer customers the best form of security and support. Even though security is way better than how things were prior to 2018, it will only continue to strengthen as more innovation is pumped into the industry.

Although the development has perhaps been slow in stages so far, the number of states choosing to switch their stance on online gambling and at least legalize it in some form is increasing. It appears that the gateway or most accepted form is in the area of online sports betting. Some of the states being tipped to open the doors to sports betting next are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Georgia, Idaho, and Missouri to name a few. Many are also looking at New York as a potential destination willing to give mobile gambling a try. While these are a few names being thrown into the hat by experts in the field, it is evident that lots of states are being suggested overall, indicating rapidly changing views across the nation.

The future is bright

It is only a matter of time before most of the country embraces online gambling and it seems that the breakthrough avenue for this will be from sports betting. Perhaps online casinos and online poker will follow after each state starts to recognize the success of the pioneer states. The potential benefits that America will receive as a result can be enormous. With the size of the population and their love for, as well as an abundance of sports, they have a real chance of building a serious gambling economy with positive effects for all stakeholders. It’s definitely going to be an interesting industry to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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