Grasping the laws and regulations of online gambling in the USA is hard, because each state in America has different gambling laws, with many forbidding it altogether.
The main issue with online gambling laws is that they are complicated and controversial, which can be off-putting to states who don’t wish to contend with what is essentially a legal minefield. So, right now, online gambling is illegal in most of the USA, with only a handful of states choosing to allow and regulate it. This is disappointing for many US citizens, who can see the sort of fun they’re missing out on here.
Where is Online Gambling Legal in the USA?
There are only four states in the USA that currently allow online gambling. These are:
- Nevada, where online poker is legal.
- Delaware, where online casinos and poker are legal.
- New Jersey, where online casinos and poker are legal
- Pennsylvania, where daily fantasy sports is legal and bringing in taxes for the state.
Pennsylvania is due to expand to online casinos and poker later in 2019. It’s also expected that West Virginia could join the online gambling club in the next few years. The state legalised online sports betting apps in 2018; now talks are underway about other forms of online gambling, such as casinos and poker. If the bills are passed this year, you could see online casinos operating in West Virginia as soon as 2020.
Should Online Gambling be Legalised?
Online gambling is a complex law to pass. This means that many states are reluctant to get involved, plus, online gambling can come with a lot of negative connotations. However, there are many reasons why a legalised, well-regulated online gambling community would be an advantage to a state. Here are just some of those reasons:
- Many are cautious when it comes to online gambling due to a fear that youths and those with gambling addictions would find it simple to get online and gamble. This isn’t the case, though, as there are numerous technologies that can prohibit those who shouldn’t be gambling from any gambling activity.
- People will gamble anyway! Without legalised online gambling, those who wish to gamble will continue to do so through illegal means. By legalising online gambling in a state, officials can regulate online casinos, ensuring everything is above board. This legalisation should put an end to most illegal outlets too, as the legal competition will see them fizzle away.
- Many states believe they can put a stop to illegal gambling by observing the habits and movements of money transfers such as electronic funds and credit cards. This is a losing battle, though, and those who wish to gamble illegally will continue to do so.
Overall, states should realise that by legalising online gambling they have a chance at reducing illegal activity. When created and regulated properly, legal online gambling builds a safe community for people to indulge in some fun. The legalisation of online gambling can also lead to more jobs and opportunities in that state, as well as the possibility of tax benefits.
It’s not all positives, though, the legalisation of online gambling in a state could also lead to problems. For one, there is a strong possibility that more people will begin online gambling due to its legal status. This could lead to a rise in gambling problems or addiction, so any state that’s choosing to legalize will need to ensure that the appropriate technologies are in place to identify and ban these people from playing.
There is also an issue around a state enforcing too many regulations or high taxation rates. This could lead to online casinos wishing to run their organisation from another country, which will not give the state the benefit of more jobs for people in the area.
The Future of Online Gambling in the USA
It’s still a grey area, with only a few states known to be moving towards legalissation in the coming months and years. It’s thought that the following states might be considering the legalisation of online gambling:
- Pennsylvania (mid 2019)
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia (2020)
- California (poker only)
- New York (poker only)
The progress of these states can be followed online. It’s highly likely that many states are playing a waiting game, looking for the positives and negatives online gambling has brought to places such as Nevada or New Jersey. If it continues to do well in these states over the next few years, then many other states may move towards legalisation.