Gambling in the US has a long history and since gambling has been legalized, the number of states that support this activity is increasing. To date, every US state with the exception of Hawaii and Utah offers legal gambling. While land casinos have always been popular among players, the introduction of online gambling attracted even more players. Using virtual technology, many US players now have the ability to engage in real money play at licensed online casinos.
When online gambling first became popular in the late 1990s, players from the US were accessing sites operating offshore. The growth of online gambling continued for many years, reaching a peak in 2005, with most revenue being generated from players in the US.
In 2006, online gambling came to a screeching halt for players in the US as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was enforced. While it did not state that online gambling was illegal for USA residents, it did prohibit transactions from being made to international sites that offered gambling activities. Specific transactions that were overseen by banks were banned, leaving US players looking for alternate means of payment.
As a result of the new law, a number of online operators and poker rooms were forced to shut down or completely refuse any players located in the US. Some sites survived and continued to cater to US gamblers, but in 2011, the US government took steps to end this and shut down three major companies that were offering services to anyone residing in the US. This major event took on the name of Black Friday and it greatly affected the online poker community.
The federal government does not have much control over online gambling. In fact, it is entirely up to individual states to legalize and operate gaming sites. In 2012, the first state in the US declared online gambling legal and Delaware launched casino websites. The Department of Justice deemed that the restrictions for online gambling only pertain to sports betting, opening the door for more US states to make legal chances and allow for sites to operate.
New Jersey and Nevada were the next two states to launch online casinos in 2013. Since that time, many other states have passed legislation that allows for sites to operate with a partnership with land based casinos in the state. Today, these are the current US states that offer legal online casino sites to residents:
• New Jersey
• West Virginia
With the success of online casinos in certain states, many others are taking a closer look at the benefits of offering legal gambling online to state residents. Some states that are moving towards passing new laws include Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. The online gambling market is always evolving and expanding. With the latest technology being used, secure payments provided, and access to some of the best paying games online, US players have more choices than ever to engage in real money play in their own country.
While online casinos continue to emerge, these sites are not launching as fast as online sportsbooks. In 2018, the US legally allowed states to begin operating sports betting sites where bettors could place wagers on professional, amateur, and college sports. More than half of the country already has passed laws that allow sportsbooks to operate online. The growth of the online industry in the US is largely dependent on more sportsbooks, though a number of states are still considering offering online casinos to generate more revenue.