Online gambling profits: The numbers don’t lie

The global online gambling industry is pretty large (even though it’s far from being as large as the land-based one). The value of the global online gambling market was close to $40 billion last year, and it is estimated to grow further in the years to come, thanks to many jurisdictions regulating the industry. The United States could be one of these jurisdictions if more states follow the example of New Jersey and regulate rather than ban online poker, casino games, and lotteries. Aside from satisfying a demand for online gambling that’s present in all states – the success of social casino games in the US and the number of offshore casino operators in a “legal gray zone” is attesting this – such a move would also mean extra income for the states’ budgets. And not a small amount either – the numbers published by the New Jersey authorities have demonstrated that.


The state of online gambling in the US today

Unlike Canadian players, who can use loopholes to play at the best online Canadian casino, US players are left out thanks to the restrictive laws in force. Since the passing of the UIGEA in 2006, the majority of international operators, both independent like the Vegas Palms and major gaming groups – have closed their virtual doors in front of US-based players. Only a handful of operators remained open for US players, and many of these have proven to be shady operations over the years. There was no legal way to gamble online for American citizens until 2011 when an opinion issued by the Department of Justice changed things completely.

Today, individual states have the right to regulate their online gambling market much like they can do with their land-based one. This means that they are free to issue gambling licenses if they like or ban any and all forms of online gambling – the decision is theirs to make. Three states have acted on their newfound liberty in the early 2010s – Delaware and Nevada legalized online poker, and New Jersey did the same with online casinos. For them, the decision has proven to be the right one, at least from a budget point of view: the state’s online casinos are generating quite a lot of revenue for the state while having little to no effect on the state’s problem gambling numbers.

In the first five months of 2017, New Jersey received over $100 million from online casino operators, in the form of taxes.


Bills in the works

Several US states are working on online gambling bills as we speak. Pennsylvania is considered to be the closest to finalizing such a bill – the piece of legislation, amended by the local House of Representatives, is now waiting for the Senate’s approval to be pushed through. Other states, like Illinois, are attempting to push their own online gambling regulations through as we speak. California and New York are also on the verge of regulating some forms of online gambling – most notably online poker – and other states are considering similar moves for the near future.

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