The online gambling industry is really taking off around the world, especially in the United States. Players are relying more heavily on online entertainment more than ever, with travel restrictions and health concerns involving the coronavirus making the option to stay at home more prevalent.
In fact, there has been a massive surge in online casino and sports betting in just the last few months alone, including states that have begun adding more mobile options to their legalized roster of gaming products. It seems like the future of online gambling in the USA has never been more optimistic than it has been during this terrible pandemic.
For many years in the US, online gaming was restricted to just a few states, however, in recent times, other states have launched services and it could be that more is to come in the near future. In literally just the last year alone, we’ve watched as dozen+ states have already legalized sports betting in their locale, with more expected to roll out similar products and other online casino launches soon enough! Let’s have a look at the current trends and how the coronavirus may play a role in more online gaming for US residents.
Online Gambling Changes
In 2013, New Jersey and Delaware legalized online casino and poker gambling while Nevada got started in the online poker sector. These states have fared well, though New Jersey is the cream of the crop when it comes to iGaming in the US. The state continues to reach new heights each month as revenue reports come in. The industry continues to add new software companies and online operators, expanding the overall offering on a regular basis.
For online gambling in the US, players must be located in a state where the activity is legal to participate. With only three states offering such services, the options were quite limited. However, in 2017, Pennsylvania decided to legalize online casino and poker gaming. They did not launch until the summer of 2019 and have seen a successful year thus far with online poker doing quite well.
Now in 2020, West Virginia is offering legalized online casino action, with Michigan and Rhode Island set to start hopefully this year or the next. The online gambling industry as a whole is starting to expand, and some experts think the coronavirus might be the push some states need to enact legislation.
The Coronavirus Impact
This year, the online gambling industry in the US has been impacted by the coronavirus in a major way. The virus is highly contagious, so it caused brick and mortar casinos to shut down. With no physical place to go for gaming, players started looking online. In states like New Jersey where gambling is legalized, sites were easy to find. Such brands as the Golden Nugget and Resorts Casino have seen stellar earnings due to an uptick in traffic because of casino closures as well as the threat of getting sick.
Players in every state want to find a solution for online gaming. Google searches for online casino sites or online casino games have increases as players look for information on where to play. While on the hunt players can try these best casinos for gaming and hope to find a solution or entertainment in a time when going anywhere is a gamble.
Many analysts are wondering if the coronavirus might be the push that lawmakers need in states that do not offer online casino or poker gaming to get started. When the casinos shut down, it left states with zero revenues. Many casinos lost millions and states as well as local cities were out money that is used for education and other programs.
Shortfalls are starting to come in via revenue reports and things do not look good. Take Atlantic City, New Jersey for example. Casinos were closed completely during April, May and June. Second quarter revenue reports were recently provided by the state and showed a revenue loss of $112 million.
Operators are losing money due to not offering gambling services as well as having to pay employees wages and health benefits. They are also losing money due to safety and health measures that must be taken during reopening.
With so much revenue loss, now may be the time when lawmakers start to dive back in to online gambling legislation. In states like New Jersey, despite the loss, there are earnings coming in from the iGaming sector. The online casino and poker sites are able to bring in much-needed revenues that off-set the loss due to the closures.
For now, we anxiously await the start of iGaming in states like Rhode Island and Michigan. If the two states are not offering services by the end of the year, it is expected that they will begin next year. As we near the end of 2020, it is unlikely that other states will introduce legislation for iGaming but we expect to see a few consider the option next year.