Online gambling has dominated US headlines since the federal ban on sports betting was lifted in May 2018. In eighteen months, 20 states have legalized the industry in one form or another.
But what about online casino gambling? Are states showing the same urgency to authorize online casinos? Well, not really.
Currently, only three of them have launched online casino gambling: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Michigan is set to join, passing the law only in December 2019. The deal includes the entire package (sports betting, online casino games, online poker, fantasy sports) but is pending launch.
Given the widespread casino presence in Atlantic City, it’s no surprise that no other state has more online gambling opportunities than New Jersey. Legal online casinos have been operating in Garden State since 2013, while online poker sites, horse racing bets and fantasy sports can be played on top of sports betting of course.
With an expansion approved in 2017, PA’s online gambling legal situation also provides for a full quota of gambling options. Online sports betting started in May 2019, and soon after two months an online casino appeared. The launch of Poker Stars in November 2019 completed the Keystone State package where you can play across three major verticals.
The state of Delaware, which you don’t expect to find at the forefront of legal online casino gambling, is Delaware. However, the first state lived up to its name in 2012, becoming the first in the United States to pass legislation. However, the competitive NJ and PA markets will never develop in DE due to the lottery-driven online gaming system that limits competition. Hence why Delaware is not spoken the same as New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, online casino authorization is not included in any Indiana account. But with mobile sports betting on the rise since September 2019, the industry’s growth in other gaming verticals can be very quickly noticed.
Another point to consider is the overall popularity of the sport in the United States. Being able to bet on your favorite team while watching the game is the most desirable mode of gambling, at least for now.
Those who bet on sports through mobile betting apps are turning to online casino games. But only to kill time between breaks in games. For example, spinning a roulette wheel or playing blackjack does not yet have the same pulling power as NFL bets.
There is no doubt that online casinos will become more mainstream and have the potential to grow. But full-blown mobile sports betting must be at the forefront of the states. As it stands, only gamblers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and New Hampshire can afford the luxury of mobile sports gambling.
Once the number of states with full-blown sports betting starts to increase, we will start to see more gambling, including online casinos.