Legal online casinos are making major advances across the U.S., and there have been some surprising changes in its brief history. The treasure-trove unlocked by online casinos has the attention of many states, while new legalization in the south and midwest may provoke neighboring states to get in on the action.
We at americancasinoguide.com have been long supporters of legal casinos throughout the U.S. We’re happy to see movements allowing more people to play at any time in more and more states.
The Path of Legalizing U.S. Online Casinos
Online casinos became federally legalized in the U.S. in 2013 following New Jersey’s case before the Supreme Court. Delaware voted to legalize online casinos in 2012.
Still, players couldn’t actually bet at an online casino until 2013. This is because, even after a state votes to legalize online casinos, the casinos must prove that their software will 1) only allow betting on online casino games within their state and 2) guarantee that those below 21 years old are excluded.
Now there are online casinos available in four states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware (though Nevada only offers online poker). New Jersey is the clear leader of the pack, hosting 22 online casinos (Pennsylvania currently has 4, and Delaware 3).
State approval of online casinos
- Delaware – 2012
- New Jersey – 2013
- Pennsylvania – 2017
- West Virginia – 2019
- Michigan – 2019
Showing the Money: $482,695,308 in New Jersey
Online casinos made $482,695,308 in New Jersey in 2019. And that figure jolted a lot of states into re-thinking their stances toward legalizing online casinos.
Which will be the next state to legalize online casinos?
Several states are now considering legalizing online casinos, but two to watch are Indiana and New York.
Indiana surprised many by legalizing online sportsbooks. Now that the online sportsbooks are drawing in a huge income ($7.8 million in bets in December 2019), many Hoosier State residents are reconsidering online casinos.
New York is poised to stop giving so much revenue to its southern neighbor, New Jersey. While motivation is not lacking among income-conscious politicians, the legislation is moving slowly.
But geographical considerations are important, too. West Virginia is the first southern state to legalize online casinos. This may cause other southern states to reconsider their stances toward online casinos. Nearly every southern state already have legal gambling (though they might not use the term).
Michigan will have the only online casino in the midwest, which may provoke other states to get on board.
The Road from Legalization to Online Casino Betting
Online casinos have been approved by the states of West Virginia and Michigan, but online casinos will not be available there until the software has proven to be reliable.
The burning question for residents is, How long?
It is difficult to answer this question, however. New Jersey had online casinos fully operational within nine months of approving legislature. Pennsylvania took nearly two years.
Given the comparative strength of infrastructure in Michigan over West Virginia, we can expect to see online casinos in the Wolverine State before West Virginia.