Special Report: Legality of Online Gambling in USPublished July 2, 2013 by OCR Editor
Latest update on where US online gambling is legal and where it is not
In late 2011, the US Department of Justice passed a landmark ruling that individual states can legalize online gambling without fear of repercussions. While federal legalization still faces many hurdles, a number of states have already approved eGaming and a number more are waiting in the wings. Below is the updated list.
Legal Online Gambling
Nevada, as always is the pioneer. In June this year, licensee Ultimate Poker opened its doors to intra-state customers in the country's first legal, real-money Internet gambling launch. This is only the first step. In February, the state finalized a law authorizing local firms to host online gambling for non-residents - effectively creating a nationwide framework for online gambling where the feds have failed to do so.
Delaware actually beat Nevada to legalization in June 2012, but with more restrictions. Under the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act 2012, Delaware Lottery will be the sole regulator of real-money poker, slots, bingo and video lottery games. In May 2013 it selected a joint bid from 888, Scientific Games Corp and WMS to operate the state's Internet Gambling services.
New Jersey was the third to join the online gambling rush. Its law, which is set to be implemented later this year, sets up a 10-year trial period in which the state will issue intrastate online gambling licenses to Atlantic City casinos and tax them at 15% (instead of 10% for land-based casinos).
Next States in Line
Pennsylvania has emerged as the likely next candidate to endorse online gambling, after lawmakers introduced a bill in April that would allow existing land-based gambling establishments to offer online casino games including poker. If the law passes, out-of-state software firms will be permitted to partner with local gambling operators.
California was originally considered the frontrunner for legal in-state online gambling, but those efforts have fallen by the wayside.
Other states that are looking at ways to legal some form of Internet gambling are Connecticut, Ohio and Iowa. New York does not seem to be considering online casinos and poker, but there has been talk that it will enable lottery tickets to be sold online.
Not Anytime Soon
Most of the Southern states such as Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, leave little room for movement on the online gambling issue. All have pretty strong penalties for the activity on the books, and the situation appears likely to change only in the event that the federal government steps in and legalizes on a nationwide level.
Illinois and Massachusetts lawmakers have both made efforts in recent years, but these moves seem to have been blocked for now. In Illinois, state senators recently passed a gambling expansion bill but only after deleting all references to online gambling. In Mass, an online gambling amendment was removed before passage of this year's state budget.
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