Why Online Casinos Lag Behind Sportsbooks In USA

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From the moment the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, online sports betting has exploded across the map of the United States. There are currently 38 states offering legal and regulated sports betting of the 50 in the union and North Carolina launched online gambling in March of 2024.

Online casino gambling, however, hasn’t come close to keeping pace. Currently, only six states are offering legal and regulated online casino gamblingNew Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware. Rhode Island will become the seventh state to join this exclusive club when it launches legal and regulated online casino gambling in March of 2024. 

Every state that has launched online gambling seen a boom in revenue generated. New Jersey, which launched in 2013, has garnered nearly $7 billion from online casinos. Both Pennsylvania, legal since 2019 and Michigan, legal since 2021, each show more than $4 billion in revenue from their online casinos.

“The volume of wagering, the interest from people, the excitement surrounding it as an entertainment option shows the power and reach of the internet,” David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, told Associated Press.

Victimized By Unfounded Fears

So why the slow rollout of online casino gambling across the rest of the US? It’s a good question and one with a variety of answers, many of which are built on a basis of unfounded fears.

The No. 1 concern voiced by anti-online casino advocates is that such expansion in casino gambling to the internet will erode the revenue generated by brick and mortar casinos, threatening the jobs of people who work there. Several independent studies have proven this theory to be patently untrue.

A study conducted by consultancy firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming in fact showed the effect to be exactly the opposite. They analyzed over 16 years of data from casinos, regulators and state governments and the conclusion was that in fact revenue at land-based casinos increased following the introduction of their online cousin in the same state.

For example, in West Virginia, 2023 was the best year ever for brick and mortar casinos in terms of revenue earned.

Another issue detractors have against online casino gambling are fears that it is easier to lose large sums of money in a short period of time as compared to sports betting, and therefore could prove more of a danger to problem gamblers.

However, all online casino slots sites provide governors that can be put in place to prevent such occurrences from happening.

Where Might Online Casino Launch Next?

Following Rhode Island’s launch, which states might be next to enter the online casino market in the USA? Well, truth be told, there isn’t another state close to the finish line in terms of legalizing online casino gambling.

In just the past year, bills to legalize online casino gambling in New Hampshire, Maryland, New York and Maine all failed to gain any traction in front of state legislators. It’s expected that new legislation could be put forth again this year, but even if that was to gain approval, it would be at least 2025 before any online casino operations could begin.

There’s hope that the expiration of federal stimulus bills this year might lead to a demand in some states for the revenue that online casino gambling is capable of creating. However, even at that, Chris Krafcik, managing director of the Eilers & Krejcik, told AP that he doubts even by the end of 2027 that there will be more than a handful of states willing to legalize online casino gambling.

Currently, there are six US states offering legal and regulated online casino gambling across the USA. They include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia. View top casino bonuses here, and explore the best casino apps on our list.

What states are likely to launch online casino gambling next?

Rhode Island will be launching online casino gambling in March of 2024. Maine, New York, Maryland and New Hampshire are other states that recently considered online casino legislation.  

The minimum age requirement to play legal and regulated online casino games in the United States is 21.