Stagnation of the US Online Casino Market

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In 2013, New Jersey approved online gambling. Delaware had already gone live, and Nevada offered online poker, but NJ was the first state to bring on a complete set of online casino games. In these first few years, several other US states were still moving to pass bills that would legalize online casino gaming. 

However, it appears that the US online gambling marketplace has lost momentum. And today, regulated online casinos are a reality only in six states—New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. There are currently just over 50 online casino operators registered within different states. And not many new operators have launched lately. 

The Early Days 

Though not the most prominent online gaming market, Delaware was the first-ever state to legalize online gambling in the US. The state authorized its three tribal racinos, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway & Casino, to start online platforms in partnership with Scientific Gaming and 888. To date, no other operator has come on board. Nevada also allowed players to enjoy online poker games through various sites. 

In NJ, online gaming companies such as Caesars launched soon after the introduction of the online gaming legislation in 2013. Another pioneering online gaming company to launch on US soil is Borgata New Jersey, which offers a complete casino lobby.  

By the end of 2014, the online gaming industry had generated over $130,000,000, with an average monthly handle of $10,000,000. Since New Jersey had the highest number of regulated operators and a population bigger than Nevada and Delaware, it accounted for about 90% of online casino gaming revenue. 

For the first 3 years, the US online casino industry only existed in three states. During this time, many proposed bills were voted down in other states, such as Pennsylvania. The revenue levels grew steadily, and in 2021, the US internet gaming industry earned over $3.71 Billion. 

Online Casino Legal States 

Online casinos seem to be taking too long to spread across America. The biggest concern for most states is the possibility of untamed gambling addiction. Some states are inhibited by traditional, religious, and social norms entirely opposing gambling activity. Since 2013, only six of the fifty American states have succeeded in legalizing online gambling. These are Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. 

Caesars, Borgata, Fanduel Casino, and DraftKings are the most dominant operators running in the different states. With nearly 20 recognized operators, New Jersey has the largest and most diverse internet gaming marketplace. Connecticut only has two casinos, the Mohegan Sun and DraftKings. In most cases, state legislation requires that all online casinos be offered through partnerships between local land-based establishments and international online operators. 

Connecticut was the last state to introduce online gaming. The previous few casinos to launch include Bally Casino, which went live in New Jersey in January 2022, and PointsBet, which joined the West Virginia market. Another recent launch came up in Michigan in April 2022, a gaming site known as Eagle Casino & Sports. 

What Does the Future Hold? 

As you may have noticed, very little has moved since Connecticut legalized online casinos. However, let’s look at what other states are doing to bring regulated internet gaming to their shores. New York wasn’t the most gambling-friendly state. However, since it recently legalized sports betting, online casinos may be on the way. A February 2022-proposed Bill 8412 is set to legalize internet casino games. 

Indiana introduced two identical bills to regulate the state’s online gaming industry. HB 1337 and HB 1356 await approval by the House before the governor can sign them. Illinois, too, may soon be getting casino apps. Illinois already allows internet sports betting and horse racing. Residents can also play at DFS sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. This means that there is a high potential for Fanduel Casino to launch soon. 

A few other states have a strong likelihood of reforming gambling laws in 2023 or in the next two or three years. Big brands such as DraftKings and BetMGM will likely launch in Florida and California. These brands already exist in these jurisdictions, offering DFS, sports betting, or in-person gambling. 

However, a decade since the first step was made, only six states in America offer legal online gaming and there have been fewer new launches coming through recently. So where does it leave players from the remaining 44 states? 

“If You’re Not Moving Forward, You’re Drifting Backward”  

That phrase accurately represents the rest of US market. Due to “upcoming” legislation, there are almost no new groups that ready to spend money on launching new brands in US. It’s just not worth it, considering the time is limited. Or at least supposed to be so.  

In UK, EU, Canada, the online gambling market goes through rapid changes: new brands popping up, endless number of mergers and acquisitions. Of course not all of those changes are for the best, but the industry is live and evolving.  

But if we serf the web here, in US, we will find the same programs that ruled the market 4, 6, 8 years ago. No new alternatives. Bovada sister sites still hold the lion share, BetOnline group next, as if nothing changed.  

The worrisome aspect here is that when there are no new competitors emerging, the old groups can get sloppy, as they know that players have no alternatives to go to.  


USA online gambling market is in transition stage. The problem is that instead of being a phase, a bridge to the future, it became the new normal. Unfortunately, no one knows when it will end. 

- B.E. Delmer,

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