December 16, 2018 by

The US Continues to Struggle with Online Casino Legalization

There is quite a bit of news to report about the online casino market in the United States.  Until just recently, most states would not legalize online casinos in their jurisdictions.  Here, at Slots Play Casinos, we focus mostly on online casino gaming and sometimes devote an article to news from that front. 

The legalization of online casinos through the individual states is big news indeed.  Acceptance of online casino gaming began to change quite quickly in the last few years and especially since the U.S. Supreme Court decided that PASPA—the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—was unconstitutional.

Sports Betting and Online Casinos


The combination of states legalizing sports betting or actively considering doing so has led inexorably to states considering legalizing online casinos.  First of all, online casinos would be a good format for facilitating sports betting and sports betting is seen as the next best way to raise tax money to support everything the state does for its citizens.  The second reason is basically the same: the state doesn’t really care if revenues come for sports betting or casino gaming and online casino gaming is the fastest growing niche in the gambling market.

Mobile is now in the lead in online gaming and no one sees a day when mobile will no longer be the default platform for gaming.  States simply want to get their share of the gaming pie.  Online casino bonuses far outstrip bonuses you can get from land based casinos.  State legislatures are realizing that there is at least as much revenue to be had from legal and regulated online gambling as through land based gambling.

So, here is some news about online casino gaming from the last few weeks.

Michigan

This large state in the heartland was never considered one of the states leading the way to legalize and regulate online casinos.  New Jersey led the way.  They were followed by West Virginia and Mississippi.  Pennsylvania quickly got in the mix since it shares a border with New Jersey and they need to keep their large population in-state rather than lose them to New Jersey.

Along comes Michigan led by State Representative Brandt Iden, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act was passed in June in the state House of Representatives and will become law if it passes the state Senate in December and is signed into law by the Governor.

The name of this bill is a conscious dig at the Federal law called Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which was attached to a must-pass spending bill and which President Bush “had” to sign.

The Michigan law will allow the state’s three full-service casinos and the twenty casinos on Indian lands to offer online casino gaming.

Representative Iden also shepherded a law legalizing fantasy spots and that bill, too, is awaiting approval in the Senate.  Representative Iden stressed that he sponsored two separate gambling bills because online casino gaming is primarily games of chance while fantasy sports are primarily games of skill.

Sports bettors everywhere are well aware of the skill level you need to win betting on sports.  Fantasy sports are a type of betting on sports as well.

Rhode Island

This is the smallest state in the entire United States.  It sits in the long densely populated are called the Eastern Seaboard Megalopolis.  Rhode Island recently legalized sports betting through its land based casinos. 

There are two developments connected with this event.  First, Rhode Island may decide to increase state tax revenues through online gaming as well.  Since the state has already given its two land based casinos the go-ahead to begin accepting sports bets, there is little to stop the state from legalizing online gaming through the land based casinos.

The second development is that neighboring Connecticut will likely fall behind Rhode Island as the former has delayed any legislation to 2019 at the soonest. 

Kentucky

This state may very well be the place where horse racing became a big time gambling sport.  In the modern world, Kentucky continues to lag behind many other states by not legalizing any form of gambling outside of horse racing and slots that allow betting on horse racing.

Kentucky has five race tracks and the big push is to allow more slot machines to be placed at the race tracks rather than to legalize any other form of gambling.  Kentucky seems bent on missing out on the three fastest growing areas of gambling: sports betting, mobile casinos, and online casinos.  Efforts were made to bring sports betting to Kentucky but those efforts failed.  Similarly, casino interests have been trying for years to get approval for land based casinos to no avail.

Oregon

This west coast state ran afoul of the biggest flaws in gambling: improper oversight.  Oregon opened its first race track in 1946 and began allowing Native Americans to open land based casinos in the latter third of the century.  All 11 of the land based casinos in the state are run by Native Americans.

The state also runs keno card gambling.  The failed supervision took place in July as the machines that read the keno cards read many winning cards as losing cards.  Unfortunately, the state did not report the glitch to the public so people continued to buy keno tickets even though the machine would likely read their winning tickets as losing ones.

Some states that are looking to allow online casino gaming and sports betting might be frightened away from doing so by the unfortunate glitch in Oregon followed by the unconscionable act of not telling the public about it.

Indiana

On the lighter side, a gambler in Indiana was caught cheating at baccarat in July.  He tried to bribe the arresting officer but he didn’t have any money so he offered the officer a Big Mac.  The incident took place at the Hollywood Casino on the Ohio River in southern Indiana.  The Hollywood Casino is small by the standards of Las Vegas or of big casinos around the world.

It seems that casino operators have known that baccarat lends itself to cheating on the part of gamblers.  This particular gambler tried to raise his bet after the fact and to rearrange chips on the board.  He was caught on camera, the police were called in immediately, and he was put under arrest.

The cheater seemed to be unaware that cheating at a casino was a very serious crime.  When he realized the trouble he was in, he identified himself as a manager at a local McDonald’s restaurant and offered the policeman as many Big Macs as he might want.

Ah, the mishaps in the birth of a new industry….