The World Wide Web being exactly that, affording literally billions of people countless opportunities to participate in this or that activity online, it’s worth the time for those who enjoy online gambling in Europe to keep up with the state of play across the pond.
The controversial and still infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 has a lot to answer for. The US Federal law brought about by anti-gambling lawmakers who tagged it on to a completely unrelated, nailed-on bill with the intention of ending online gambling succeeded in drastically altering the landscape not just in the US, but to differing degrees around the world. Those Europeans of a certain age who took poker seriously enough in those pre-UIGEA days will remember tailoring their playing schedules to US times in order to take advantage of a large pool of recreational players in which it’s fair to say the level of opposition wasn’t up to the standards we might see in Scandinavian-facing sites, for example.
For well over a decade, numerous attempts have been made, with varying degrees of success, to get the US back on track, with individual states endeavouring to return power to their proverbial elbow via nicks in the legislature that afford them a level of independence in decision-making and jurisdictional policing, and there is indeed cause for optimism – hence the increased interest in recent years of UK-based operators seeking to establish themselves in the US by one means or another.
And it’s not like there isn’t a massive interest in all forms of gambling in the US – get off a plane in Las Vegas and you suddenly find yourself in a gamblers’ paradise. Numbers-wise, how this veritable passion could be translated nationwide is anyone’s guess, but the answer is to a staggering degree if a recent statistic is anything to go by. The last 30 days, for example, saw $2 billion taken in wagers in New York alone via new and much-awaited legalized online sports gambling. This is more than any other US state, helped along by Super Bowl weekend which alone generated $472.1 million in wagers from New York punters.
With the taxes collected from legalizing online gambling an obvious incentive, the estimated $357 million in 2023 from this ‘new’ income stream, and the subsequent $509 million expected revenue in 2026 is impossible to ignore, and is bound to prove more than just inspirational to those seeking to (re)introduce online gambling in other states.
The NFL also helped break new records in the equally forward-thinking Pennsylvania, which reported over $800m in bets during January. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s online casinos gave another demonstration of the fiscal relevance of online gambling, with record revenues of $130m.
The numbers are convincing. Sportsbooks are up 29% compared with January 2021, with a further $178.4m in revenue last month. Gross revenue through online casino and poker rooms reached a record $130m, up 42.5% from January 2021. Indeed, the month-on-month trend continues – Dustin Gouker, analyst at PlayUSA: “Whether it’s sports betting or online casino gaming, more people are betting more often now than a year ago. And there is little reason to believe the growth will stop this year.” In fact, 92.9% of the state’s sportsbook market revenue was via online accounts..
It’s only fitting that the US should find itself once again in on the online action sooner rather than later – an eventuality that we’re all eager to see happen after so many years.