The United States and its countless battles with the legalization of gambling have long existed. But as the gaming industry embarks on a new era of gambling that exists online, the discrepancies between legislation, law, and the public demand for complete legalized gambling continues.
As half of the American states have exclusively sanctioned online gambling, the other half face alternative consequences and paths towards legalization because gambling rules are governed at a state level. In 2013, the state of New Jersey became the first region in the U.S. to legalize online gambling. Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania shortly followed.
The terms’ legal gambling’ or ‘online gambling’ can’t always represent an industry with such varied regulations in the U.S. Certain states permit gambling sites but not sports wagering, whereas others approve both but reject online poker. In contrast, the minority have fully-fledged legalized gambling in all areas of the industry.
However, entering the new year of 2022 will reignite the legislative sessions that could introduce an expansion of gambling options – should the bills pass. Numerous laws are met for consideration every year, some will succeed, and others will fail, but the positive impact that online gambling can have on a state is undeniable.
The Advantage of Legalized Online Gambling
Besides the positive outcome on available jobs, the far-reaching possibilities that online betting can provide would assist a significant rise in tax revenue that can support both state and country.
The Perfect Example: Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania poker rooms and online casinos obliterated their previously held records in 2021. The number of digital and retail sportsbooks also surpassed an all-time high.
A 2021 year in review saw PA online casinos report a record $1.3 million in gambling revenue, which provided $466.4m in Pennsylvania state taxes.
Katie Kohler, a revenue analyst for PlayPennsylvania, commented: “The growth in online casino gambling seems almost endless. Online casino revenues nearly doubled year over year, a significant jump from 2020 when the global pandemic kept people at home. Growth should taper some in the year ahead, but online casinos have yet to reach their ceiling.”
Following a marketing bill of $19 million, sportsbooks both online and retail returned $18 million in taxable profits, a further $6 million added to the state of Pennsylvania.
PlayUSA’s analyst Dustin Gouker said: “If the carrot for legislators to legalize sports betting is to create a sustainable and consistent revenue source for the state, no state has been more successful than Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania’s relatively high tax rate does seem to contribute to slower growth overall, but that seems to be a worthwhile trade-off that has been an overall benefit to the state.”
The fact is gamblers have continued to gamble with or without the state’s approval. The industry has long fought the state to make the activity legal whilst attempting to remove the negative impact of the black market. Offshore betting sites have allowed the American public to wager on their unregulated pages.
The offshore gambling websites cannot always provide Americans with the advantages of regulated, licensed, and legal operations that a legalized U.S. gambling establishment can.
Legalized Online Poker in the United States
Online poker lost its battle with legalization in 2011, as the Justice Department set its sights on three major players (Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars). Fortunately, the revamped version of the Wire Act allowed multiple states to reintroduce legal poker on their websites.
New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have long existed in the online poker world. A joint operation between the three states has allowed players to compete against one other on the same network. Pennsylvania also provides online poker, but as a sole state.
In 2022, seven additional states are heading towards the legalization of online poker, but their launch dates are pending.
Legalized Online Casinos in the United States
A mere three states have allowed online casinos to become legal thus far; Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
These locations have flourished in profits from games such as blackjack, roulette, and slot machines being played from wherever an internet connection can be found.
However, despite its potential to boost the economy, legislation has fought harder against this method of online gambling, more so than sports betting or poker.
Legalized Online Sports Betting in the United States
The most successful form of online gambling to date is sports betting; around ten states provide a version of online sports wagering.
Different laws apply to each state, and by the end of 2022, we should expect to see a plethora of alternative states offer legalized sports betting. A surge in applications from numerous states will see multiple bills up for consideration that could create several more U.S. locations to reap the benefits of online sports betting.
The Online Gambling Expansion in 2022
2022 will portray a rejuvenated start in U.S. legislation. Online gambling is one of the most discussed subjects, but a disappointing 2020/2021 attempt to legalize was the result of most states.
Michigan and Connecticut were the only two states who managed to launch their online gambling markets in 2021. With that said, the global pandemic did have a considerable impact. Because of the losses accumulated from already legal states, it highlighted the significant benefits for other states to consider a regulated online market.
Most bills involved one-year legislative sessions; therefore, the new year will warrant newly formed bills should they want to pursue online gambling in their state. Although, the state of Illinois is one of the rarities involved in a two-year session.
Indiana was one of the first states of 2022 to submit their bills, but they, unfortunately, became fruitless and have already fizzled.
The failed legislation of North Dakota, Missouri, and Kentucky in 2021 are expected to return in 2022, but their likelihoods of a passed bill are low. Three states absent from 2021 in New York, Ohio, and Iowa own a greater chance of success in 2022 than those previously mentioned.