Online gambling, or iGaming as it’s come to be known, has been one of the biggest technology trends of the decade. In recent years, iGaming has exploded in popularity worldwide, generating billions of dollars in revenues for global operators.
Since May 2018, when the US Supreme Court overturned the PASPA Act of 1992, digital real-money gaming has also begun to make a slow return to the US landscape.
There are now a total of 16 states that have legalized iGaming activities within their borders, including online casino gaming, online poker, and digital sports betting.
Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey were some of the first states to offer legal remote sports betting, while some of the latest states to launch iGaming including Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan.
For what is still considered to be an emerging industry, the take-up of iGaming in legalized states has been substantial. In Pennsylvania, for example, 2020 provided a year of consistent, month on month growth in verticals like online poker, casino, and sports betting. In December alone, the state’s sole online poker room and limited online casino platforms generated a total revenue of $71.6 million – a sevenfold increase on December 2019’s revenues of $10.6 million.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, the first 10 days of legal online gambling in 2021 brought in over $42 million in gross receipts (total amount wagered by residents in the state).
It’s clear that as a gaming trend, real money gaming and wagering isn’t going anywhere fast. With more consumers engaged with iGaming activities than ever before, further expansion of the practice across North America could generate substantial economic benefits.
In states that haven’t fully legalized platforms, consumers can access offshore platforms registered in other countries to play casino games like slots and poker. This method of accessing games can have significant disadvantages for US players including risks such as not being able to verify the validity of licences and fairness of games.
Additionally, the increase of iGaming platforms across the US wouldn’t just provide gaming opportunities for players, it would also educate them on the rules and aspects of casino games. Take online poker rooms, for example. By visiting such platforms consumers can get to grips with the mechanics of the game, learning rules like the best poker hands and refining their strategy with play money tournaments.
At present, there are no iGaming platforms registered in the state of Maryland, except for those social casinos that reward players with sweepstake prizes rather than enable real money gaming.
Pari-mutuel wagering is also available for both online and mobile sports betting, however, lawmakers are in the process of drafting a final sports betting bill that could shift the landscape dramatically within the state over the next year.
In January this year, the Maryland legislative committee began discussing a proposal to appoint a sports betting license to a nonprofit organization, making the Free State the first to consider offering a license to a nonprofit.
The proposal, put forward by Senator Chris West, would enable Maryland State Fairgrounds to run a retain sportsbook and digital sports betting platform. If the proposal is approved, all revenues collected by the operation would be used for philanthropic purposes.