The future of online gambling in the United States is uncertain. This is due, in part, to the fact that online gambling has a complicated history in this country.
For many years, online gambling of any sort was illegal in the United States. For example, the US Department of Justice seized more than thirty-four million dollars from roughly 27,000 online poke accounts in New York’s Southern District in June of 2009. This event was groundbreaking because, before this particular seizure, money was always taken from gaming sites, not individuals. In this situation, the DOJ directly seized the money from peer-to-peer accounts.
Just a few months later, “on 3 December 2009, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on UIGEA and Rep. Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267) where experts in the fields of online security and consumer safety testified that a regulatory framework for Internet gambling would protect consumers and ensure the integrity of Internet gambling financial transactions. On 28 July 2010, the committee passed H.R. 2267 by a vote of 41-22-1. The bill would legalize and
regulate online poker and some other forms of online gambling.” —Wikipedia
Then, in 2011—on the heels of the New Jersey State Senate bill that allowed for certain forms of online gambling, such as poker and other online games—the DOJ issued a ruling that allowed individual states to legalize and regulate online gambling within their borders. This ruling led to a wave of states legalizing and regulating online gambling to grow the gaming industry.
But it wasn’t until 2018 that single-game sports betting got the same treatment, except for New Jersey, which also passed a bill in 2011 to legalize online sports betting.
The current landscape of online gambling in the US is complex. A number of states have legalized and regulated online gambling, but there are also a number of states where it is still illegal. This patchwork of laws can make it difficult for players to know where they can gamble online without fear of breaking the law.
Online Gambling in Massachusettes
In the state of Massachusetts, online gambling is legal. There are a number of websites that allow residents of the state to gamble online. These websites are licensed and regulated by the state government. Residents of Massachusettes can access these websites from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection.
Massachusetts was one of the first states to legalize online gambling in 2011. This made it one of the earliest states to allow residents to bet on sports games online. At the time, this was a major development, as very few states had legalized online gambling at that point. That said, Massachusetts sports betting was lagging behind many states regarding legalization and regulation.
The state is currently trying to put the final pieces together to get a state-regulated program up and running.
Online Gaming in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania has a long history of gambling, dating back to the colonial era. Horse racing was a popular pastime in the state, and it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that casino gambling became legal. Since then, Pennsylvania has been home to some of the most successful casinos in the country, including those in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The state lottery is also very popular in Pennsylvania, and it was one of the first states to offer online lottery sales. The state was slow to legalize online casino gambling.
One of the main reasons online gambling was slow to be legalized in Pennsylvania was the powerful land-based casino industry. The casinos didn’t want their revenue to decline and lobbied against online gambling.
However, the tide turned quickly, the state legislature passed a bill signed by Governor Tom Wolf that expanded online casino games, poker, and even daily fantasy football in 2017. It didn’t take long for Pennsylvania to regulate online sports betting as well.
While many states legalized single-game sports betting after a federal bill in 2018 that gave each state autonomy over legalizing and regulating online sports betting, most were extremely slow in putting the regulatory pieces together. So slow that quite a few states only finally opened regulated operations in 2022, and states like Massachusetts that still haven’t fully approved a sports betting bill. This was not the case with Pennsylvania. The Quaker State was ready to launch state-run products in May of 2019, and has been reaping the rewards of extra tax revenue ever since.
Legal States with Up-and-Running Online Gaming Operations
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
The future of online gambling in the United States will likely be determined by the actions of the individual states. If more states legalize and regulate online gambling, then it will become more commonplace and accepted across the country. However, if states continue to take a patchwork approach to online gambling laws, then the future of online gambling in the US will remain uncertain.
By Justin Hilbert