Gambling in the United States is a little confusing. The country is home to one of the most famous gambling cities in the world – Las Vegas – but depending on the state can be incredibly strict when it comes to online gambling.
However, the US online gambling landscape has changed over the last few years; here’s how.
Online Gambling In The USA
Online gambling has been around since the 1990s in the UK, but it’s been a lot more complicated in the US. Legislation for online gambling in the USA was drafted in the late 1990s and introduced to the Senate but never passed. In the early to mid-2000s, an extension to the Federal Wire Act and the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) tightened rules around gambling. Although the UIGEA didn’t outright ban gambling, it prohibited financial firms from processing payments to and from US gambling websites.
However, in 2010, New Jersey passed bill S490 and became the first state to legalise online poker, casino games, and slots. Since then, other US states have followed, legalising various forms of gambling, but they’re still few and far between.
What’s Legal In The US?
When we speak about online gambling in the UK, we generally refer to all types of online gambling, all of which are legal. However, in the United States, online gambling is split into several categories; sports betting, casino gaming, poker, and daily fantasy sports, each of which may or may not be legal depending on the state.
At the time of writing, online sports betting has been widely adopted by US states, including Colorado, Delaware, Washington DC, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia too.
Meanwhile, traditional online casino gambling is only legal in states such as California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Online poker is accepted in fewer US states, but daily fantasy sports are widely available across the country, excluding a few states.
USA & UK Gambling: Are There Differences?
As we stated earlier, online gambling has been around in the UK since the 1990s. The online gambling industry in the UK is heavily regulated by an organisation known as the UK Gambling Commission, and it is one of the biggest and most successful regulated markets in the world. The Commission works to protect players and offer safe and equal gambling opportunities. Since the United States is so large and rules for online gambling vary state by state, there isn’t one main gambling regulator; there are several organisations and agencies.
Sports betting and traditional online casino gaming remain the most popular gambling activities in the UK with literally thousands of operator websites to choose from, and both types of activities have become popular in the US states that have legalised them, with sports betting proving to be the more enjoyed activity.
Both countries use similar technology and, depending on the US state, offers the same type of games and activities. The main difference is that the UK’s online gambling industry is miles ahead in its regulation of gambling and its availability, diversity in websites and games, and safety.
The landscape of online gambling is changing. Several US states have legalised various forms of online gambling over the last few years, and some states in the country are currently holding discussions to legalise gambling. The most recent has been Arizona, which allowed online sports betting earlier this month.
We believe that more US states will legalise online gambling activities, following in the footsteps of those that have already legalised most online gambling and have experienced tremendous success. We don’t think the USA will ever beat out the UK in terms of gambling regulation, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the USA eventually becomes one of the biggest gambling markets in the world. If it does, it may take some time.