Will 2021 Be the Year of Online Casino Growth in the US?

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Last year has seen a significant uptake of new players due to the ongoing global pandemic, generating a boom in the North American online casino industry.  With the local authorities changing their attitude towards online gambling, analysts predict that 2021 will be the year of substantial online casino growth in the US.

Countries across Europe have had their online gambling market segments regulated for years.  The same goes for Canada, which has legalised both offshore-based online casinos and home-based internet gambling portals run by local authorities.

On the other hand, the US is yet to jump in with both feet regarding online gambling.  However, during the past decade, the local attitude towards online gambling has been shifting.  Analysts now predict that 2021 could be a year of exponential casino growth in the US due to several factors.

US Supreme Court and PASPA

A critical step towards the deregulation of online gambling across the US was the overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) by the US Supreme Court in 2018.  The Act intended to prevent all states, except Nevada, from participating in sports betting.

According to the American Gaming Association, of the US$150 billion spent annually on sports betting in the US, 97% went on illegal sportsbooks and offshore companies before the rescinding of PASPA.  With the continuous growth of online gambling, individual states saw an urgent need to bring order into this market segment.

Four States Leading the Way

After the Department of Justice permitted each state to pass its own online gambling regulation, four states have led the charge with their legal frameworks.

Delaware

Delaware passed the Gaming Competitiveness Act in 2012, which allowed land-based casinos on its territory to create online wagering platforms.  The decision proved to be a valuable one and, by 2016, Delaware managed to amass US$3 million in revenue from the online gambling sector.   

West Virginia   

West Virginia introduced the Lottery Interactive Wagering Act in 2019, permitting online casinos on its territory.  By 2020, the first regulated local online casinos commenced their operations.  So far, the rollout has been successful, with US$53 million accrued by casinos in October 2020 alone.    

New Jersey

New Jersey expanded its gambling market by passing an online gambling law in 2013, to compensate the drop in gambling revenue generated by Atlantic City, due to greater inter-state competition.  Today, New Jersey holds the largest share of the US online gambling market, coining in US$225 million each year from online casinos.  

Pennsylvania

Based on a 2017 bill, first online casinos emerged in Pennsylvania two years later.  The state legalised online gambling in an attempt to boost its economy and, in 2019, accrued close to US$34 million from online casinos.  Today, the fastest-growing online gambling market in the US is located in Pennsylvania, with many local casinos forming partnerships to cater to online gamblers’ growing demands. 

The Advantages of US Online Gambling Deregulation

There are several reasons why states can benefit from online gambling.

It opens up new cash inflows from a lucrative sector for the state authorities, where license fee and tax charges can bring in significant revenue.  The government can also perform regular audits and remain selective regarding whom it issues an operating licence to, ensuring a safe and regulated industry.

The public also benefits from having access to secure and fair gaming and freedom to gamble without having to visit an in-house casino.  There is also the benefit of privacy and anonymousness that comes with gambling online. 

2021: The Year for Online Casino Growth in the US

According to a CAGR report, US online gambling sector will increase by 15 per cent annually, based on the following factors:

  • With growing legalisation, attitudes towards gambling will continue to change
  • States can reduce the risk of minors gambling on unsafe platforms
  • Online casino revenue will grow as more variety is made available to the public
  • As people get accustomed to safe and fair online casinos, more will end up using licensed platforms

Ultimately, we will see an uptick of activity, with states amending laws dealing with online gambling in 2021 and beyond.  This will offer more opportunities to local players and ways the government raises money from the industry.

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