Online gambling has grown in popularity as players flock to digital casinos and wager on sports events and games of chance. The federal government has allowed state-level lawmakers to approve these new forms of gaming, but there are still some major hurdles that need to be cleared before the entire country can enjoy a regulated online casino experience.
While states are increasingly receptive to online and mobile sports betting, they have been slower to accept other types of iGaming. Some of the main concerns that have slowed progress toward broader acceptance of online casinos and iSlot machines include fears over security, privacy, and how these new activities might affect brick-and-mortar operations. Fortunately, these concerns are starting to be addressed.
The first step toward addressing these concerns is to understand how gambling laws work in the United States. In a nutshell, the US is a federalist jurisdiction, which means that federal law only sets broad overall gambling rules and does not regulate individual states’ gambling activity. Instead, that responsibility falls to the local level, where state legislators and voters make the decisions on how gambling should be regulated.
In 2022, Arkansas became the latest state to legalize online sports betting. However, the law did not include the option for residents to gamble at online casinos. This may be partly due to the fact that the state is home to a large number of tribal casinos, which would have made it more difficult for them to compete with offshore operators.
Online casino play is legal in most states, with the exceptions being Utah and Hawaii. Both of these states are very religious, and the Mormon community in particular has strong feelings against gambling of all kinds. This has been a major obstacle in the efforts to expand legalized gambling in Utah, and it could prevent iGaming from ever becoming legal in Hawaii.
Among the states that have already embraced online casino play is Delaware, which began offering its own iGaming options in 2013 with sites operated by local casinos and the state lottery. Connecticut is another state that has adopted iGaming, but its offerings are limited to two options – the Mohegan Sun Casino and DraftKings/FanDuel.
West Virginia also has legalized iGaming, and its nine online casinos are currently accepting wagers from residents. The sites partner with some of the biggest names in the industry, including BetMGM and Caesars.
Despite its liberal stance on gambling, Nevada does not permit its residents to play iSlot games. This is because it believes that people who want to spin the reels should do so at a physical venue, rather than by using their phones or laptops to access virtual slot machines. Despite this, several bills that have been proposed to change the state’s gambling laws have failed to gain traction in 2020. Hopefully, that will change in the future.