While most of the US is focused on adopting online sports betting, there is still a massive appetite for online casino gaming. In 2019, the US online casino industry began to take massive strides and as a result, several jurisdictions in the US have legalized online casino gaming or are considering legislation that would legalize the activity.
Online casino gaming was once synonymous with the state of New Jersey, but now, the US online casino market has expanded and several other states offer the activity. Let’s take a look at the US online casino market.
Our US sports betting bill tracker has been broken up into four different categories, each containing states at different stages of the legislative process.
States where online casinos are legal
New Jersey launched online casino gambling in 2013 and since then, the market has grown at a steady pace. There are currently 23 legal and regulated online casino websites available to gamblers in the Garden State.
This is easily the best state for online casino gambling in the country mainly due to the fact the market has grown over the years. Online casinos in New Jersey feature an extensive library of online slot titles and popular table games as well as live dealer games that simulate the feeling of being in a real casino.
Pennsylvania became the third US state to legalize online casino gambling back in 2017 after the legislature approved a massive gambling expansion bill that also included sports betting. The Keystone State launched online casino gaming in 2019 and there are already a dozen online casino brands available to Pennsylvania bettors.
Customers in Pennsylvania can play a variety of online casino games including slots, table games, live dealer casino, and poker.
Surprisingly, Delaware was the first state to legalize online casino gambling in the US but online casino gaming in Delaware comes with a caveat. The state’s online casino market is small (which should be expected for a state as small as Delaware) as the online gambling market in the state is a monopoly operation run by the Delaware Lottery in partnership with the online operator 888.
West Virginia legalized online casino gaming in March 2019 with the passage of the WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. The Mountain State’s online casino gaming market went live on 15 July 2020 with the launch of DraftKings Casino. Six weeks later BetMGM launched its online casino in West Virginia and since then BetRivers and FanDuel have also launched their casino products in the state.
Michigan legalized online casino gambling in 2019 but the activity took over a year to go live. After an unsuccessful attempt to launch online casinos in 2020, the state finally launched online casino gambling on 22 January 2021.
On the first day of legal online casino gaming, nine online casino brands launched operations. Under state law, a total of 15 online casinos can operate in the state based on the current number of eligible casino license holders.
The state of Connecticut legalized online casino gambling in 2021 as part of an updated gaming compact between the state and the Mohegan Sun and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribes.
Connecticut’s online casino gaming market went live on 19 October 2021 and under state rules, only the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot tribe can offer online casino gambling. Mohegan Sun is using their own brand and Betfair/FanDuel’s technology, while DraftKings will assist the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
States with online lottery games
Some states also offer online instant lottery games that resemble online slot games. States that have online instant lottery games instead of conventional online casinos include:
- Georgia (iLottery)
- Illinois (iLottery)
- Kentucky (iLottery)
- New Hampshire (iLottery)
- Rhode Island (iLottery)
- Virginia (iLottery)
States that could have online casino
At the time of writing, there aren’t many states making an active push to legalize online casino gambling. Despite this, there are a few states that look like they could greenlight the activity relatively soon.
Illinois is the only state in this category that has managed to consider a bill and progress it through the legislature. Back in 2017, a piece of legislation that would bring online casinos to Illinois made it out of the Senate, but since then the issue has not been raised.
However, the state of Illinois now has legal online sports betting, legalizing online casino gambling is the next logical step in terms of gambling expansion. If Illinois looks towards other states with online casinos and sports betting (like New Jersey and Pennsylvania), lawmakers may find a compelling case for legalizing online casinos.
Back in 2020, rumors began swirling around Indiana potentially legalizing online casino gaming, however, it appears these were just rumors as the state has made almost no progress on the issue.
Despite this, just like Illinois, Indiana has an open online sports wagering industry. If Indiana hopes to increase its tax revenue from online gambling, expansion into online casinos would be a step in the right direction. Once again, states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan demonstrate just how much online casino gambling can help boost state revenues.
Massachusetts has made several attempts to legalize sports betting and other forms of gambling over the years, but all attempts have failed. Despite this, any new attempt to get online casinos off the ground could be helped by DraftKings.
Massachusetts is the home of DraftKings, a household name in the sports betting and online gambling sector in the US. The online gambling giant has been trying to push online casinos over the finish line in recent years, but now, with the expansion of gambling across the US a new attempt from lawmakers with the backing of DraftKings could be successful.
It may come as a surprise to most people that the state of Nevada has yet to legalize online casino gambling. Almost every form of gambling is legal in the Silver State so it is not a stretch to think online casinos could come to the gambling capital of the US.
While online casino gambling seems like a next step for the Nevada market, there are several challenges the state must overcome, but the most challenging will be getting the casino industry onboard. Most of the land-based casinos in Nevada are opposed to online gambling, despite the fact that some of the largest companies are pursuing the activity elsewhere in the US.
The journey to legal online casinos in Virginia is going to be slow, but the state looks like it will get there eventually. In 2020, the state established the Virginia Online Lottery, which provides games similar to online casino titles.
At the same time, lawmakers in the state also legalized sports betting and voters in four towns all voted in favour of constructing the state’s first land-based casinos.
In every state with online casino gambling, the online platforms have been tethered to physical land-based casinos. Land-based casino gambling in Virginia will likely be a necessary precursor to establishing a framework for online gambling. However, construction on these casinos will take a few years and as a result, the earliest an online casino bill could pass in the state could be 2022, with the possibility of launching in 2023.
States with no action
These are states that have made no progress in legalizing online casino gambling or have no real interest in pursuing the activity. Although some of the states mentioned here may have other forms of online gambling like lotteries and sports betting, there is still some apprehension towards online casino gambling.
There are many reasons a state may be uneasy about legalizing online casino gambling ranging from issues around responsible gambling to the fear that online casinos would detract significant amounts of revenue from land-based casinos.
Although there is an appetite for legal online casino gambling in the US, residents in the states below will likely have to wait a very long time until they can legally gamble with an online casino.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Be sure to check back with GamblingSpotlight for more updates on the legalization of online casino gambling in the US.