It feels like a long time ago, but it’s actually only 4 months since bricks-and-mortar casino floors across the United States were full of clients and booming. That it feels like such a long time ago is further evidence of how much the world has changed since the effects of global pandemic first struck. Most U.S. states joined the many countries across the globe, applying restrictions for social interaction and limiting public movement. Most shopping centers, casinos, and local stores were immediately closed as the pandemic took hold.
As the world descended into economic crisis, debilitated by a virus that is not expected to disappear any time soon, all sorts of businesses quickly adapted in order to economically survive the difficult period. Business experts predicted an increase in the online business sector even before the pandemic, however, no one could have predicted the level of growth that has occurred.
Quickly, online gambling was and still is the answer to the isolation problem. As expected, many companies experienced a huge spike in their online gambling sectors, with an increase of more than 200% compared to pre-pandemic figures.
Many people who used to go to casinos to play blackjack, roulette, cards or slot machines found their way migrating to online casinos like those at SugarHouse in New Jersey. Those states that had already legalized online casinos like New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware were ahead of the game, and kept the money rolling in, while in other states casino doors were firmly bolted shut.
Moreover, with most sports events suspended due to the pandemic, traditional online wagering on sports needed a tweak. Sports events like NBA and NFL matches, soccer leagues, Formula One racing, even college leagues were postponed for a few months, which meant that many people who like to gamble (but prefer not to take up betting on sports they don’t know or like Czech or Russian Table Tennis, or the Belarus Premier League soccer) were only left with online casino games like poker, blackjack, roulette or slot machines.
However, online casinos are fully legalized some states only, which underlines that many states may need to get with the program to help future proof their gaming businesses from the potential hits of tragedies and catastrophes like this that may potentially render their traditional land-based casinos and sportsbooks closed at any time.
With online gaming the way of the future if not already the ‘go-to’ present gaming form, let’s check-in with the state of play of where and how online gambling is legalized in the United States.
States where BOTH online casinos & online sports betting have been legalized (operational or awaiting launch)
(Note – all states current as at 21 June 2020 – subject to change)
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
States with legal online sports betting ONLY (operational or awaiting launch)
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
States with land-based retail sports betting only (operational or awaiting launch – could become legal online sportsbooks states)
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
States considering online gambling of any kind (mostly online sports betting being considered by state legislators, but need to be watched closely if an online casino component also sneaks through alongside any potential legislation)
- New York
- South Carolina
- North & South Dakota
States with no legalization activity to date (These states either have specific laws that implicitly state sports betting is illegal– either retail or online – or in the case of Utah, anti-gambling is expressly written into that state’s constitution)