The calendar has now been flipped to December, and barring a Christmas miracle in Michigan, it’s starting to look like 2016 will end without a new state joining the legal online gambling ranks.
Despite momentum and legislative progress in several states, when 2017 begins, the number of states with legal online gambling industries will still be stuck at three – Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.
After being empowered by a 2011 opinion issued by the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, online gambling legalization at the state level came out of the gates at a full sprint.
Within a year and a half of the OLC opinion being proffered in September 2011, three states passed legislation legalizing online poker and/or online gambling, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey; three other states approved the sale of online lottery tickets, Illinois, Minnesota, and Georgia; and still more were looking to following their lead.
A number of states will be looking into legalizing and regulating different versions of online gaming in 2017. Some will look into legalizing and regulating online casino and/or online poker. Others will continue to look into legalizing, and in some cases prohibiting, daily fantasy sports. And still others will take a look at adding online lottery sales.
One state will be dealing with each and every one of these online gaming matters, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts will try to hit the trifecta in 2017
If you’re among the people waiting for another state to legalize online poker your eyes were squarely focused on Pennsylvania in October. Unfortunately, the month came to a close without a definitive answer as to when online gambling will be legalized by the Pennsylvania legislature.
Here’s a look back at the rapidly evolving legislative landscape in Pennsylvania, and a look ahead to two other states that are expected to resume online gambling legalization before the end of the year, and how a live tournament series in New Jersey could help push gaming bills across the finish line.
The future of online gambling in the United States could very well be decided between now and the end of the year. The country isn’t at a make-or-break point, but with no state legalizing online gaming in over three years, any chance at widespread online gambling legalization by 2020 is slowly slipping away.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of New York’s daily fantasy sports law was filed last week with the New York Supreme Court.
The lawsuit is contesting the New York DFS law on the grounds that the New York legislature overstepped its authority by classifying DFS as a game of skill, instead of changing the state’s constitution to allow DFS contests as an expansion of gambling.
On the online gaming front, September raised more questions than answers, as two states continue to consider online gambling legalization and a new federal online gambling prohibition bill has surfaced in Congress.
The Pennsylvania Senate’s unwillingness to act on the gaming reform bill the House passed back in July has created a cloud of uncertainty when it comes to online gambling legalization in the Keystone State.
A reworked online gaming bill could be introduced in Michigan any day now, but legislative action isn’t expected until after the November elections.
Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, the North Jersey Casino Referendum appears to be headed towards a resounding defeat on November 8.
And finally, a new federal bill that would prohibit online gambling has been introduced, courtesy of Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.
Yet another attempt to prohibit online gambling at the federal level is afoot in the United States Senate, and Sheldon Adelson is widely believed to be the man behind it.
Adelson’s war against online gambling began back in 2013 when he told Forbes Magazine he would spend whatever it takes to prohibit online gambling legalization. In the ensuing years several bills have been introduced in Congress, and several hearings have been held. Adelson is widely believed to be the driver of all of the bills.
Rush Street Gaming recently launched its first real-money US online gambling site, the PlaySugarHouse.com online casino in New Jersey.
Rush Street doesn’t own or operate an Atlantic City casino. The launch was made possible thanks to a deal between Rush Street and Golden Nugget that allows the Philadelphia-based SugarHouse Casino to operate an online casino under Golden Nugget’s New Jersey operator license – only brick & mortar casino properties in Atlantic City are eligible to receive online gaming operator licenses.
That’s the shortlist of states people are keeping an eye on when it comes to online gambling legalization in the United States.
These are certainly good states to focus on, but there are also a handful of states that could be next year’s Michigan. That is, a state that comes out of nowhere and quickly becomes serious contender for online gambling legalization.