There are an awful lot of United States citizens that would love a simple answer to the question of when will online gambling be legal in the US. But the truth of the matter is that still there are many jurisdictions where it is still illegal to gamble online to such an extent many wonders if it is actually legal anywhere in the US.
But there is always a silver lining and the first myth that needs to be firmly crushed is the one that online gambling (meaning when a player is having a bet or wager themselves) is in anyway shape or form prohibited by federal law. This is simply untrue.
Many UK casino and sports betting operators are strategically positioning themselves for what is being considered the online gambling gold rush. The US market, with 330 million people will be the biggest and most lucrative. Big names like IGT and William Hill are joining forces to offer sports betting across multiple states.
There is no law against any player sending their money to an online gambling site and there are many payment processing companies used to facilitate money transfers from the players through to the chosen gambling sites with all of them living and operating outside of the US.
In May 2018 the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law which banned any sports betting in the US. Betting on football is enjoyed by many Americans with vast sums being wagered each season – some estimates state that in the region of $88bn is wagered on college and pro-football though online offshore accounts each year. This far outweighs the $2 billion which is bet legally in Nevada which was the only State where sports betting was allowed.
Obviously, most people would prefer to be on the right side of the law when having a bet on their favourite team, and in theory the Supreme Court's decision cleared the path for UK-style betting shops as well as gambling being allowed at sports bars.
Interestingly, this has not happened yet, and this football season will only offer US bettors a few options for placing a lawful bet. And it seems that, for those who enjoy a wager on their favourite sport, legal sports betting could still be years away mainly due to a whole host of complicated laws that regulate gambling.
Still, when the Supreme Court made its ruling in May it did not actually make sports-betting legal in the country – rather it struck down the federal law banning it. Thus, it became a matter for each State to decide what they wanted to do from there.
For the States such as New Jersey who pushed to overturn the federal ban this was a green light to permit sports betting, and now the State has six casinos and two race tracks that offer this service with almost $60 million in sports bets being placed through the end of July.
The US has always had a stop-and-start legislative process regarding online gambling with numerous interests and lobbying groups applying pressure as they choose, and where vast amounts of revenue are involved once the laws are finally sorted then prospective operators are more than likely to face onerous licensing procedures from state gambling commissions.
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