Over the past ten years, the iGaming industry has exploded in popularity, becoming one of the most solid and lucrative global industries that is expected to be worth as much as $102.97 billion by 2025. Now, as the decade is drawing to a close iGaming activities have become available once again on US shores.
After major changes to real money gaming legislation, including the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in 2018, online casino games, poker rooms and sports betting markets have been opened up to players across certain US territories.
Let’s take a look at the state of play here in December 2019.
Bettors in the States have placed wagers on sports games and events for as long as organized games have been played in public. When it came to being able to do so online, however, up until 2018 it was only possible to place sports bets (legally at least) in a single state, Nevada.
With some of the most exciting events in the sporting calendar taking place in the US – the Super Bowl, NBA finals etc – American fans naturally still wanted to place wagers on these major events and were able to do so via offshore sportsbooks.
Offshore sportsbooks, which are registered and licensed to operate in other betting-friendly territories like the UK or Malta, have been estimated to take in approximately $150 billion every year from US customers – a significant amount of handles that would also generate significant revenues.
However, thanks to the key developments that have been made over the past 18 months within the US legal system, there are now a total of 13 states that have fully legalized sports betting within their borders, with a further six to follow. Consequently, customers who are based in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Delaware, Iowa, West Virginia, Rhode Island,
Mississippi, Oregon, Illinois, New Hampshire and Tennessee are able to place a wide variety of bets on sports like basketball, baseball, hockey and football at online platforms, including spreads, totals, moneylines and props.
US based online sports betting may still be an emerging market, being less than 6 months old in some states, but nonetheless it is an incredibly lucrative one. In the month of October alone, the total sports betting handle wagered on events across the 13 states came to almost $12.4 billion.
New Jersey experienced two consecutive months where sports betting revenues (online and retail) were at record amounts. In September, revenue was at an all-time high of $37.9 million, but that was soon bettered by October’s total revenues, $46.4 million – a year on year increase of 297.8%. Although the figures included retail amounts, it’s clear that US bettors appreciate the convenience of online sports betting, spending $417 million across the various licenced Garden State platforms during October.
Online Poker and Casinos
Perhaps more interesting for gaming fans, real money casino and poker games are now legal and in operation in a total of four US states, with Michigan hopeful that the state will pass legislation before the year is out in order to become the fifth. Gamers can access innovations like virtual reality poker, progressive jackpot slots games and live poker tournaments on major platforms operating within New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
The last state to legalise real money gaming was Pennsylvania, which underwent a soft launch of interactive gaming through online slots, online casino table games and video poker during July. Despite there being only a few operators offering casino games the following month in August, nevertheless, total revenues of $3.4 million were generated.
At the start of November, online poker made its debut in Pennsylvania with the launch of a major global poker platform. The total numbers for the month are yet to be released, however, in its launch week alone the platform paid out almost $1 million in poker prize money to the hundreds of customers who signed up within a matter of hours after launch.