There are various forms of online gambling, from sports betting and casino games to poker and daily fantasy sports. While some states provide all forms of gambling online, others specialize in specific forms or niches; Virginia only allows horse racing betting at licensed sites while all other markets can access other betting markets. Some states regulate social and sweepstakes casinos that don’t use real currency but rather virtual ones where winnings can be redeemed for cash prizes.
Over the last several years, several states have passed laws legalizing and regulating online gambling in various forms. Most have focused on sports betting initially; however, more are beginning to offer other forms. This trend may be partly attributed to a new interpretation of the Wire Act by the Department of Justice that allows individual states to legalize and regulate different forms of online gambling.
New York was the pioneer state to legal sports betting when it launched legal operations in 2022 and since has proven itself an unstoppable force in the market, setting monthly handle records and even outpacing Nevada in some months. Home to 21 online sportsbooks and boasting an innovative system which caters to operators needs, New York remains an innovator within this industry.
Massachusetts became the next state to legalize sports betting when it made its debut in March 2023, although unlike New Jersey it did not include online casino play as part of its initial rollout. Furthermore, Massachusetts is unique among states by prohibiting betting on in-state college teams which has further hindered growth and prevented it from becoming one of the premier states for betting.
North Carolina began accepting bets on sports events beginning in 2021 at two tribal casinos located far from its major cities. Recently, however, its legislature approved legislation enabling online sports gambling – Gov. Roy Cooper is strongly behind this initiative which could go live sometime before 2024.
Other states are making progress toward switching, with Ohio lawmakers passing a bill in late 2021 and regulators projecting that sports betting would go live there by January of 2023. Ohio offers an enormous potential market for sports gambling and its legislators are likely to advocate for further expansion in future legislative sessions.
Hawaii remains one of the few states that still forbid online gambling, despite attempts at legal change. While efforts may exist, Hawaii likely will maintain its anti-gambling stance for now.