US Gambling Law: Transitioning Towards More Flexible Gambling

The US has a long and often tumultuous history concerning gambling. The early 20th Century was dominated by prohibitive measures limiting the practice to several cities, ultimately depending on state laws and exceptions. State legalization across the country underwent multiple changes relating to different types of gambling – a legislative dynamism that depends on the attitude of authorities that persists today. However, in recent years various gambling laws across some states have relaxed, with technologically advanced forms leading the way – for example, through omnichannel WAPs and iGaming.

Exponential increases and technological advances

In recent years, online gambling exponentially increased in popularity. This can be attributed to an abundance of factors, including the advancement of technology, the ubiquity of smartphones, more people working from home, and increased flexibility in our lives for gaming. A plethora of iGaming apps facilitating play has been developed to cater to demand, assembled with new and innovative features that have attracted a new generation of participants.

These mobile casino apps from this list prepared by agamble accommodated more banking options, expanded promotional offers, and exclusive games, improving the overall experience. This has put pressure on various states where gambling online has not been legalized, particularly with many relinquishing decades-old laws. In the online world, this has complicated jurisdictional loopholes, with some patrons enabled to gamble with casinos in neighboring states or by physically traveling across state lines.

Several states have proposed new laws to control this new burgeoning market, with Michigan, Mississippi, and Illinois authorizing online gambling. Following this legalization, groups previously specializing in land-based resorts such as MGM, Caesars, and Wynn have launched apps offering online slots, table games, and poker tournaments. Moreover, many gambling apps have now diversified into sports betting – the most widespread and popular form of US gambling.

Successful ventures and a slow legal process

Thus far, the legalization of iGaming has been beneficial for the states in which it is permitted. New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania generated over $12 billion combined over a 12-months since June 2022, with 38% of this figure generated by online gambling activities. This revenue is considered beneficial by many to the state-specific economy while generating associated job opportunities and indirect employment.

As a result, pressure is building on states to relax their current laws, with many states proposing votes on different facets of gambling. However, the situation can often be complex; for example, South Dakota has solely legalized sports betting, while New Mexico is bound by tribal and state compacts. Meanwhile, Utah is one of the states which has not passed any form of law towards gambling legalization, as a highly religious state that may never move towards relaxation.

What is the future for iGaming legalization in the US?

Despite several successful and regulated examples of US states legalizing iGaming, the possibility of federal legalization remains highly unlikely. Despite this, the US set a gambling record in 2022, generating more than $54.9 billion in revenue. Nonetheless, the issue of gambling tends to divide the nation, much like many facets of US politics. However, the next state anticipated to fully legalize iGaming is Indiana – a state considered to be more conservative in its laws. Thus, if states more prone to heavy regulation begin to relax their gambling laws, other states may follow suit.