- Report, from PlayUSA shows fragmentation and difference of opinion in the industry
- Positives include the success of New Jersey’s online casino sector, and industry support
Fans of online casinos in the US wait with bated breath as the future of state-regulated online wagering hangs in the balance in the US, following news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reconsidering a federal ban.
Input from key stakeholders will have a considerable influence on whether or not states can continue to offer regulated online gambling, and a new report from PlayUSA.com has identified the important issues that will affect the future of American online casino players.
How it currently stands
At the moment, there are 44 states that allow online gambling in some form, whether it is online casino games, online lottery, fantasy sports or sports betting. The market remains fragmented, with different states offering a different selection of online wagering products and services.
Online horse betting is allowed in 36 states while online sports betting is allowed in four. There are major fantasy sports sites operating in over 40 states, while social gaming (although not legally classified as gambling) is available across the entirety of the United States.
On top of that there are three states that have already regulated online casino gambling: Denver, New Jersey and Nevada. On the back of their decision, all three have experienced considerable success, generating a total of $200 million in revenue in 2016.
Due to fragmentation in the industry, other states have been slow to adopt laws that regulate online casino gambling. However, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York continue to explore their state-regulated online options.
State-regulated online gambling is a polarising issue. Significant stakeholders in the industry have varying opinions on whether or not regulating online betting is safe and financially viable. It is their perspectives that will influence the future of online casinos in the United States.
According to PlayUSA’s report, state lotteries and commercial casinos have taken a lean opposition stance. They are reportedly concerned that online casinos will cannibalise their revenue, questioning whether players would prefer to play casino games online rather than playing the lottery or visiting land based casinos.
However, contrary to that, Atlantic City’s land-based casinos have actually seen an increase in business since online gambling was legalised in 2011.
“When coupled with the very strong earnings report that came out last week, it’s clear that casinos have started to grow the market and increase their profits,” says Matt Levinson, Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “That is generating a lot of positive interest in Atlantic City and has already attracted significant new investment in this market.”
New Jersey as a positive example
State governments largely continue to oppose real-money online casino wagering, as they have yet to see the financial benefits. However, it could be argued that state-regulated online gambling in New Jersey should serve as a positive example. In the six years since enacting regulation, the state has generated an additional $80 million in tax revenue and has created over 3,300 new jobs.
According to the recent report, and hardly surprisingly, one of the main proponents of legalized online casino gambling is the gambling supplier industry itself. Somewhat understandably, games manufacturers and developers have the most to gain from the introduction, and regulation of online casinos at a state level. However, PlayUSA also notes that the fragmentation of industry stakeholders will prevent those suppliers from being vocal advocates.
PlayUSA.com’s report goes into in-depth detail about how these stakeholders feel about the various types of online gambling that are up for discussion. From state governments to sports leagues to tribal casinos, they each have differing opinions that will influence whether they will support state regulation of online gambling or back a federal online gambling ban.
You can read the full report here.
There’s a lot to digest here and, as a player, you may not think that reports like these are important to you. In some respects, you’re not wrong – there’s a lot of information about the industry, as well as the ever changing regulatory scene in the US that you don’t need to keep up to date with to enjoy online casinos.
But, just think of that last point for a moment: enjoying online casinos. If you do, then reports like these are worth knowing about. As a US online casino player you’re likely used to shifting regulations, or proposed regulations and uncertainty over just how much you can enjoy yourself. With the recent reports of Jeff Sessions and his apparent opinions of online casinos, there could be more to sift through in the future.
This report, if anything else, shows the potential for a successful US online casino industry – just look at New Jersey and other states to see what can happen when an industry is properly regulated and legalized. It’s also reassuring to read about the support for the development of that industry, and the future possibilities you could be experiencing. So yes, don’t concern yourself with the ins and outs of industry reports but remember – a little bit of knowledge is a powerful thing.
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