Because of the way the law works in the USA, it is often difficult to pinpoint the pace and the extent of legal change. Few recent cases exemplify this more than the Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that permitted states to legalize and regulate online gambling. In the wake of that decision, the message that seeped out was that it was legal to bet online in the US. The reality, which remains the case today, is that while it is possible for states to make this change, not all states have done so.
For many people living in the USA, then, it’s not true to say that online gambling is now legal. At least, in the majority of the country, it is only part of the story to say that it is legal. This will make for some interesting developments as we continue to watch the development of iGaming in the world’s largest economy. Here, today, we will go through some of the changes that are expected in the iGaming sector on a national level.
A domino effect in the legislation allowed
Of the first six states to allow online betting without significant restriction, it is hard to ignore that five of them (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware) are ones which border one another at some point. This will play a part in the thinking of lawmakers, as relaxation of betting laws has been seen to have a pronounced beneficial effect on the economy of a state. Even now, New York is looking at ways to relax its existing restrictions, and we can expect a pattern of states following their neighbors in welcoming online casinos, simply to avoid losing out on a financial boost.
But progress will be slower than some expect
One of the latest states to vote on a bill to permit betting was North Carolina, which recently passed one bill allowing the state to offer sports betting licenses. However, in the same session, the House voted down another bill which needed to pass for the first one to take effect. This highlights the difficulty of writing legislation that can walk the tightrope of acceptability to win over a wide enough caucus of lawmakers.
It is generally accepted that NC will, in the fullness of time, pass some form of pro-betting legislation; the state is suffering economically in comparison to nearby states that have already done so. But even once a bill is passed it must then go to a state governor for approval, and some states have seen legislation fall at this final step. So it will be worth watching what happens in each state, as this will affect the pace of change.
On the gaming front itself, new developments will gather pace
One aspect of online betting that sticks in the craw of legislators is the feeling that it is a solitary pursuit and that this is socially undesirable. It will be interesting to see how this argument is affected by the increasing Stateside adoption of the best live online casinos, which allows bettors to mingle socially with other online players and chat with live dealers. The signs are that this development in iGaming has increased the number of players already, and it has proved highly popular in the UK where the gambling industry is more mature.
A wider pool of players for casino gaming
There are many states where it is legal to bet in a land-based casino, but not so much for online betting. This is a dichotomy which will become increasingly hard to maintain, as the existence of online betting permits the availability of gaming options to people who are at present de facto barred from it. People can only play at a land-based casino if they live close enough to one, are not kept from traveling or entering due to physical disability, and have the free time to visit a casino. With app-based play and online casinos, players can fit gaming into their schedule when they are traveling, and can play regardless of physical condition.
We are going to see an increase in betting apps in the near future, as potential gaming customers vote with their thumbs to make use of those casinos that are already providing this kind of technology.