Online slot gambling has exploded as more players discover the convenience and ease of betting from the comfort of their homes. Several states have already legalized the practice, recognizing the potential for additional tax revenue from this industry. Some have also incorporated it into state lotteries, making it even more accessible to players. While the federal government still considers the activity illegal, many states have found ways around this and are now embracing it as a legitimate form of gambling.
In some cases, it’s even easier to gamble on a site than it is in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Most states don’t have strict anti-gambling laws, and those that do usually only have a minor penalty if you are caught. In fact, only three states have felony charges for simple gambling offenses: Iowa, Montana and Washington. These penalties can include fines and jail time, but are far less than the maximum prison sentences allowed under other crimes.
When the internet emerged in the 1990s, online gambling appeared to be an end-run around government control and prohibition. It was easy for an operator to set up a website, accept wagers and send winnings back to the player’s bank account. This prompted federal lawmakers to look into how the activity could be regulated.
Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibited states from allowing sports betting except for parimutuel horse racing, dog racing, jai alai and sports lotteries run by licensed casino operators. The Supreme Court struck down this law in 2018, and states such as New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and more have since made it legal to bet on sports.
In addition, a handful of states have legalized online casino games, and several others are in the process of doing so. This includes Rhode Island, which will launch its igaming platform in March 2024 and extend Bally’s casino monopoly to include online slots, poker, table games and more. The igaming industry in the state is expected to boost tourism and other aspects of the economy.
New York is another state with igaming on its agenda, but it won’t be available for quite some time. Its legalization will depend on a few things, including how well the igaming market performs and whether the state can afford it. However, with New York being a tourist Mecca, it’s expected that the introduction of online casino games will have a positive impact on local economies.