Gambling is restricted in the USA, so the the actual market size is difficult to pin down. However, based on Wikipedia estimation, gross gambling revenues in 2008, (ie the total wagering amount minus winnings) was $92.27 billion in the USA.

USA Online Gambling Market Overview

Online gambling around the world is projected to grow by 8.77% between 2018 and 2024. The fastest growing gambling activity being online betting mostly sports book with other betting products including political and financial betting. The rise is also attributed to increased casino attendance by women as well as growth and increasing cashless payment options which are projected for the same period. The most common gaming types which make up the online gambling market include betting, bingo, lottery, casino and poker and can also be further broken down by mobile/table and desktop gambling.

A 2019 report from Mordor Intelligence, identifies North America as the fastest growing online gambling market. Naming several major players in the market as GVC Holdings Plc, Cherry AB, 888 Holdings Plc, BETSSON B and William Hill Plc.

If we consider the wider US gambling market, including land-based as well as online. The American Gaming Association, stated in 2016 that gaming in the USA was a $240 billion industry, with as many as 1.7 million employees across 40 states. This contributed 8.85 billion in tax revenues. Anti-gambling lobbyists claim that gambling contributes to crime including political corruption as well as claiming that gambling is a stealth tax on individuals where gambling is permitted or where venues are located.

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Gambling revenues in 2017:-

  • Commercial casinos: $41.2 billion
  • Tribal casinos: $31.945 billion
  • Card rooms: $1.9 billion
  • Lotteries: $80.55 billion
  • Legal bookmaking: $248 million
  • Pari-mutuel wagering: $295 million
  • Charitable games and bingo: $2.15 billion
  • Grand total: $158.54 billion

(Source: Center for Gaming Research University Libraries)

State by State Regulation of Online Gambling

As you would expect, online activity is very quickly becoming the preferred way to place a wager, across all gaming types. Many more Americans are favouring their laptops and mobile devices over land-based options.

The gambling laws vary drastically from state to state, just as you would expect. The law gets particularly complicated given the different classification of each gaming type. For instance, skill games like Poker are treated differently to games of chance like roulette and slots. Also, soft gambling options like lotteries and bingo are mostly treated differently to hard gambling like sports book and casino.

To make matters worse… ‘Is football betting a game of chance or a game of skill?’ If you thought state by state gun laws were complicated, you haven’t seen anything yet!

Whether you’re a US citizen, on vacation or in America on a work visa. It’s well worth knowing something about the gambling laws. Most of the media coverage has focussed on the state laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey although more states are opening up either entirely or partially.

It’s difficult to keep track of all the state laws by gaming type, so here’s a summary.

Online Gambling By State

State Online Casino Online Poker Online Sports Betting
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes
Indiana No No Yes
West Virginia Yes Yes Yes
Iowa No No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes
Nevada No Yes Yes
Delaware Yes Yes No
Oregon No No Yes
Rhode Island No No Yes
Montana No No Yes
Colorado No No Yes


NJ Gambling: Which gaming types legal online gambling?

  • Online Sports Betting
  • Online Casino
  • Online Poker

New Jersey was the first US state to open for business and is the largest regulated online gambling market in the USA. With the most licensed online casino, poker and sports betting operators. The NJ market is estimated to be worth more than 225 million per year.


PA Gambling: Which gaming types legal online gambling?

  • Online sports betting launched May 2019
  • Online casinos launched July 2019
  • Online poker launched November 2019

Pennsylvania’s major casinos were quick to roll out online casinos. Players can either place bets offline and in person or online via mobile, tablet or desktop.


WV Online: Which types of gambling are legal?

  • Online sports betting launched December 2018
  • Online casinos launched July 2020
  • Online poker expected to launch in 2020 or 2021

West Virginia has legal sports book gambling websites and mobile apps for online sports betting. Legislation was passed in the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act which opened the market for online casino and poker in July 2020.


IN Gambling: Which online gambling types are legal?

  • Online sports betting launched October 2019
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Indiana opened up retail and mobile sports betting in 2019. This comprises of several online sports books including Draftkings. Indiana has a total of 8 mobile sports books as of the date of publishing.


IA Gambling: Types of online gambling permitted by law.

  • Online sports betting launched in August 2019
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

While there are no plans in Iowa for online casino or poker, Iowa state opened up for online sports betting with five sports book operators beginning to accept players within the first six months. It’s worth noting the approach in Iowa is different. Once the player has downloaded and registered the software, the player must complete the registration process by visiting one of the designated land-based casino partners and completing the registration purpose in-person.


NH Gambling: Which online gambling types permitted?

  • Online sports betting launched in December 2019
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Residents of New Hampshire received a late Christmas present in 2019. DraftKings Sports book began the era of online sports betting in the Granite State on December 30. DraftKings will be the only online sports book. The first retail sports books launched on August 12 — DraftKings Sports book at The Brook.


DE Gambling: The online gambling law.

  • Online sports betting launched in June 2018
  • Online casinos launched in November 2013
  • Online poker launched in November 2013

Would you be surprised to learn that Delaware was the first state to roll out sports betting following PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992). Additionally Delaware was an early state to open up casino and poker.


OR Gambling: legal online gambling plans. Online sports betting launched in October 2019

  • No plans for online casino
  • No plans for online poker

Oregon was quick to adopt regulated sports betting, but have currently no plans for either online casino or online poker


CO Gambling: legal online gambling plans.

  • Online sports betting live in May 2020
  • No plans for online casinos to launch
  • No plans for online poker to launch

In 2019, following a public referendum, the people of Colorado voted to legalize sports betting. A new law was introduced to permit Colorado casinos to open land-based and online sports books. The dirt cheap ($2000) sports book licences have been allocated to 33 casinos located mostly in the mountains.


RI: legal online gambling.

  • Online sports betting launched in Sept. 2019
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

in 2018, Rhode Island became the eighth to allow sports betting, months after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Lawmakers expanded this to include online and mobile betting. By September 2019, online betting via mobile and in-person registration was launched.


MT Gambling: legal online gambling.

  • Online sports betting launched March 2020
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Montana became the ninth state to legalize sports betting. State Gov. Steve Bullock signed Montana sports betting legislation which authorized the state lottery: Intralot to offer betting via the state’s lottery provider. Sports betting launched in March 2020. The law permits mobile (sort of) and retail sports betting throughout Montana. Notice, mobile is followed by ‘sort of’ because all mobile wagering is only permitted within the walls of authorized lottery retailers and taverns.


MI Gambling: legal forms of online gambling

  • Online sports betting legalized December 2019
  • Online casinos legalized December 2019
  • Online poker legalized December 2019

On Dec. 20, 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to legalize online gambling in Michigan. The state’s first retail sportsbooks went live in March 2020, while online platforms are expected to enter the fold as early as October 2020.

Operators will be limited to one online skin. The bill does not permit multi-state games.

Each of the three commercial and 23 tribal casinos will be permitted to apply for licensing, which will cost $50,000 for application, $100,000 for actual licensing and $50,000 for annual renewal.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Friday to legalize sports betting and internet gambling, calling it a bipartisan win for the state that will bolster funding for public schools and permanently dedicated funding to help first responders who get cancer from fighting fires.

The laws take effect immediately, but wagering will not start for a number of months because commercial and tribal casinos need to obtain state licenses. Lawmakers have said they are hopeful that sports betting and online gambling could start in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March.

Whitmer said her priority in negotiations was ensuring that the new gambling does not negatively impact the $15.1 billion school aid fund, which is funded in part by the Lottery, and boosting the school aid fund.


IL Gambling: legal online gambling

  • Online sports betting launched in June 2020
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Sports betting became legal in Illinois in June 2019 and led to the first retail sports books opening in March 2020. The bill provides for both retail and online sports wagering. In June 2020, Rivers Casino launched BetRivers to become the first mobile/online sports book in the state. Then, DraftKings joined the market in August 2020 with the launch of its own sports book app.

Licenses to offer sports betting in Illinois are a whopping $10 million. However, given that all casinos, all racetracks, and even some sports venues can apply, it seems likely that there will be plenty of takers, even at that price.


DC Gambling forms of legal online gambling

  • Online sports betting legalized in January 2019, launched May 2020
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Technically, Mayor Muriel Bowser did not sign off on legislation in January 2019 to legalize sports betting in the nation’s capital. Rather, enough time passed for the bill to pass.

Despite controversy surrounding the incoming industry, regulated online wagering went live in DC in May 2020 as the Gambet DC platform soft-launched but only as a browser-accessible sports book. The Intralot-powered product remains the sole legal sports book, as other applications (for online and retail wagering) still await approval.

2020 launch potential

State Online Casino Online Poker Online Sports Betting
North Carolina No No Yes
Tennessee No No Yes
Virginia No No Yes


VA Gambling: legal online gambling options

  • Online sports betting legalized in April 2020
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker

Lawmakers in Old Dominion passed several bills to legalize sports betting and sent them to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam in April. Rather than immediately signing off, however, Northam sent the legislation back with several recommendations, including which facilities can offer regulated wagering and easing restrictions on bets surrounding in-state colleges.

With little to no objections, delegates approved of Northam’s suggestions, thus legalizing retail and online sports betting in Virginia effective July 1.


TN Online Gambling: Forms of legal online gambling

  • Online sports betting legalized in April 2019
  • No plans for online casinos
  • No plans for online poker Tennessee approved a sports betting law in April 2019. Curiously enough, since there are no gambling venues in the state, the law allows for online sports betting only – there is no retail sports betting on the horizon. Sites should launch sometime in 2020.

Operators will have to pay $750,000 annually to renew their licenses. While that’s steep, big names like DraftKings and FanDuel are unlikely to be deterred from applying.