It should come as no surprise that North America is the fastest-growing market of online gambling. In 2020, the industry saw an uptick in users when Covid-19 lockdowns restricted sporting events.
As a result, people turned their attention online due to ease of access and cashless payments. Not to mention, the U.S. recently legalized internet Gambling.
The increase is further amplified by the growing emphasis on blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the global internet gambling market was valued at 64.13 billion in 2020. It is predicted to reach $112.09 billion in 2025.
Widespread internet accessibility and increased reliance on web-based services mean that the industry is set for steady growth.
In fact, marketing firms are cashing in on the action by offering SEO Casino Services for iGambling companies.
Ironically, several states have strict measures on online gambling. This guide will highlight everything you need to know.
Is it legal to gamble online in the United States?
In 1961, Congress passed legislation that made interstate sports wagering unlawful. It was referred to as the Federal Wire Act.
Over the years, the legislation came under scrutiny from individuals questioning whether the law applies to internet gambling as well.
In 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) addressed these concerns and enabled states to enact laws that legitimize the practice.
In 2018, the US Supreme Court determined that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was unconstitutional, thus repealing the federal ban on sports betting.
The DOJ recently ruled, however, that the Wire Act of 1961 covers online legal betting in the U.S., which limits states to provide these services to residents only.
In summary, under U.S. federal law, betting is permitted. However, there are restrictions on interstate and internet gambling.
Each state is permitted to regulate or prohibit betting within its borders.
Therefore, it can either be legal or illegal, depending on where you live. Moreover, while a few types of internet gambling may be allowed, others may remain illegal.
Legalized forms of online gambling in the United States
Legislators have divided online gambling into three categories:
- Sports Betting
The caveat is that some states may allow one or two forms of internet betting but not all three.
It’s important to note that these regulations are still in their infancy and are vulnerable to frequent and potentially significant alterations.
In addition, there are several states attempting to regulate and legalize the practice.
States Where Online Gambling is Legal
Currently, there are eighteen states where internet gambling is permitted and actively practiced. These are some of the most noteworthy.
New Jersey allows virtual casinos, poker, and sports betting.
It’s hailed as the biggest market for web-based gambling in the United States, bringing in more than $225 million yearly.
In addition, there are a number of sportsbooks present and online sports betting apps available for residents.
Michigan legalized internet sports betting, virtual casinos, and poker in late 2019.
It was the fourth state to legalize all three categories.
Sports betting, virtual casinos, and poker are all legal in Pennsylvania.
Additionally, it served as the fourth state to let its residents gamble on the internet.
Virtual casinos became legal in 2019 as a result of the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. Additionally, mobile sports betting is also allowed.
Indiana legalized online sports betting in late 2019, with no need for players to register in-person to open an account. Instead, participants can register using sports betting apps.
Other states with at least one form of legal internet betting include:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
States where Online Gambling is Illegal
Below are a few of the states that prohibit internet wagering.
Hawaii is one of two states that has banned betting in its entirety. Hawaii’s struggle against wagering actually stretches back to its formation in 1959.
Utah is the second state where all forms of wagering are illegal. It passed legislation in 2012 that banned virtual casinos. However, its law enforcement has admitted to having a challenge when it comes to prosecuting perpetrators.
Although other types of betting, like bingo and raffles, are legal in Wisconsin, it prohibits internet gambling.
All forms of internet gambling are outlawed in Idaho. These include fantasy sports, poker, and lotteries. Additionally, Idaho has some of the strictest punishments for offenders who break this law.
Washington D.C has stringent betting laws. Unfortunately, the only form of wagering it has legalized is the lottery.
States that are deciding whether to legalize internet gambling.
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection announced the approvals of online gambling in Connecticut on September 9th, 2021. As a result, internet gambling is expected to be up and running in October.
As of now, there is a review of draft rules and regulations, which will be followed by licensing and tech review. Connecticut will permit online sports betting, online casinos, online lottery, and daily fantasy sports.
Although California’s indigenous tribes have gaming exclusivity, there have been talks about legalizing online poker and sports betting for about ten years. Online casinos are much less talked about, but that could change as time and talks progress.
There have been efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling in Massachusetts over the past few years, but nothing has materialized. However, it is worth noting that lawmakers and Massachusetts’ Gaming Commission have expressed interest. With over 20 sports betting bills presented, lawmakers are currently reviewing the best way forward.
In 2021 Governor Andrew Cuomo included internet gambling in New York’s budget, giving way for lawmakers to draft legislation and develop rules and regulations. Retail sports betting is currently permitted, and soon online sports betting will be too.
In 2020, lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill, but it was held up in the Ohio Senate. If all goes well and it passes, the Ohio Casino Control Commission could start handing out betting licenses to operators in 2022.
Betting is a highly controversial topic as moral and ethical factors are constantly being questioned and examined. The consensus is split on whether it’s a destructive habit or fun and lighthearted. It’s no doubt that it is the most significant impediment to internet gambling regulation in the United States.
Although operators are regulated and follow stipulated rules, the general perception is that there’s always a cloud of deception. As the saying goes, “the house always wins.”
Whatever the case may be, online operators are required to allow players to self-exclude and establish loss limits. The reality is that internet gambling generates billions of dollars that would benefit individual states if legalized and regulated. In addition, it can prevent players from playing at off-shore sites and keep taxable revenue from leaving the country.
Regardless, more states are devising or reviewing legislation to legalize online gambling. Thus, it is evident that as time progresses, it’ll be a common occurrence to place a wager on the internet in most places in the U.S.