This curiosity has been in the minds of avid US gamers even before the outbreak of the pandemic. As the situation appears to be simmering down, state casinos are gradually beginning to open their doors again to the public, and we are once more faced with the question, “Which state will legalize online casinos next?” We are not fortune tellers, but we will be making one or two predictions and, of course, backing them up with good reasons. Well then, let’s get right into it.
States That Could Possibly Legalize Online Gambling In 2020
Next to jump on the online casino bandwagon will most likely be New York. The state is backed by the support from politicians who are pleased with the thought of increased revenue. New York is also showing a tendency towards online poker, and with neighboring New Jersey doing so well and earning a whopping $482,695,308 from online casinos in 2019, they have the greatest motivation to take the leap in 2020.
While only a couple of states have legalized online casinos, 2019 saw several others legalizing online sports betting including:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
See the complete list of US states and the legality of gambling in each state.
Many of them having launched sportsbook sites already, and others will begin accepting their first online sports wagers this year. This has put them in line to follow in the footsteps of Michigan and West Virginia.
Chances are looking good for Indiana after raking in $7.8 million in bets in December 2019. The state has residents open to the subject since the success of the online sportsbooks.
There are now seven mobile sports betting apps available for gamers – Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, BetMGM, BetAmerica, BetRivers, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings Sportsbook. Other gambling opportunities here include sweepstakes social gaming sites, the Hoosier lottery coined from its nickname the Hoosier state, land-based poker, tribal and commercial casinos, and live sportsbooks.
It took just six months from the approval of online sportsbooks to the launch of five gaming apps, so Iowa knows how to get things done quickly. Other gaming locations include retail sportsbooks, nearly two dozen land-based casino establishments, tribal bingo, a racino, and a riverboat casino.
Iowan gaming locations are spread evenly throughout the state, and it is this attention to active gaming that strengthens the belief that Iowa could go online with casino games very soon.
Christmas came bearing casino themed gifts for New Hampshire as the state launched its online sportsbook in December 2019. With an iLottery already in play, they are no strangers to online gambling. It has also taken a more inclusive approach to charitable gaming, expanding the gaming options to almost every form of gambling in existence. They were also one of the first to take up online sports betting to the surprise of many, and their unpredictable track record puts them in the running for the next state to approve online casino games.
Before launching its online sportsbook in August of last year, Oregon was already allowing online horse betting and mobile lottery ticket sales within the state. Oregonians are not hostile to the idea of online gambling, which is a green light in our books. Most states utilize a voters referendum to approve gambling laws, and with state residents in support, there is a very good chance that we could be welcoming the newest online casino from Oregon.
The newest state to launch an online sportsbook is Colorado, just a month ago in May. It also allows for legal daily fantasy sports, state lottery, pari-mutuel betting, and land-based casinos. The state is a vast market for casino gaming, and the industry is continuously expanding. The legalization of online sports betting is a testament to that.
Online poker has been propagated in the past by lawmakers. With the current state of the casino industry, there is a likelihood that online casino gaming will be proposed again, and this time the odds are in favor.
Joining the wave of states that legalized sports betting in the US, the already gambling-friendly Montana is a bill away from changing its current stance on online casino gaming. Off-track pari-mutuel betting has kept residents in touch with internet gambling over the years, and throughout its history, the state has always had gambling options available to residents. At the moment, Montana has tribal casinos, poker, and social casino sites.
March 2020 marked the official debut of Illinois online sports betting, which was signed by the governor in June 2019. Even though it is still a new development and very fresh in the mind of gamers, it is not too soon to talk about online gaming in Illinois. Casinos, racetracks, and lottery sales contribute to the state revenue, and residents remain open-minded.
The size of the state did not deter it from pushing forward with legalizing sports betting, and the online casino should be no different. Rhode Island lawmakers have discussed the economic benefits of an online lottery in the past.
In 2012 a voters referendum passed in favor of full-scale table gaming, and four years later in 2016, another referendum approved the opening of the second Twin River establishment. Another four years down the line, 2020 might have good chances of succeeding with another state-wide vote.
While Washingtonians were preparing for the launch of the live casino in May, the Gambet DC mobile lottery app was also in the works. This means the state made two online gambling milestone achievements simultaneously. The supreme court decision that ruled in favor of online sports betting also gave the go-ahead for the first land-based casinos to be established in the state. Washington clearly has the potential to become the next online gambling geolocation in the US.
The Road To Legalizing Online Casinos In The US
A brief walk down memory lane takes us back to 2012 when Delaware voted in favor of legalizing online casinos. It wasn’t until 2013 that the first bet was cast at a regulated online casino. The same year New Jersey brought a case before the Supreme court, which led to its official legalization into US federal law. However, federal law in the country has so many layers. That is why each state has to pass its own bill in favor of online gaming within its territory. Pennsylvania followed suit in 2017 and debuted its first online casinos in 2019. West Virginia and Michigan approved online casinos in 2019 and are working towards a 2020 launch.
Legal matters generally take a substantial amount of time to finalize and even more so for gambling-related laws. After the bill is proposed, it is passed between both houses and put up for a voters referendum. Only after scaling these steps will it pass into law. Passing into law is halfway through the storm because casinos still have to prove that their software will be in line with the federal rules:
- Allowing only players within the territory to place wagers
- Ensuring that only gamblers of legal age are allowed
Other Online Gambling Options -The Online Lottery and Online Poker
The first online casinos came out in 1994, and we didn’t know it then, but it was the dawn of a new and promising era for the industry. After it was decided that the Federal Wire Act applies to only sports betting, US states began considering online gambling. The online lottery is the most welcomed form of the activity with states like Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Michigan offering lottery ticket sales online within their borders.
The US seemed to have solidified its stance against online gambling following the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Nonetheless, online poker was able to wriggle through, and now there are a number of states with legalized online poker. Most notable of all is infamous Nevada, the global hub of casino gaming. Nevada was the second state after Delaware to authorize the issuing of online poker licenses in February 2013. Delaware may have approved it first, but Nevada was quicker on its boots launching the first-ever legal and regulated online poker site, Ultimate Poker, just two months after in April. Delaware went live in November of the same year.
The Current State of Casino Gambling
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of practically every casino establishment across the country. Even as the casinos are on the verge of reopening, it is highly unlikely that people will immediately begin crowding casinos as they used to. The transition back to the casino scene will definitely be a staggering one. Looking at the huge figures most states make from the gaming sector, there have been significant losses.
Meanwhile, residents across the country have continued betting at regulated online sites and offshore casinos that accepted US players. It is very probable that as a response to the setback caused by the pandemic, many states in need of the revenue will move to legalize online casinos.