State lawmakers are slowly opening up to online gambling, particularly sports betting, while federal law remains an obstacle. Centuries-old attitudes against gambling remain deeply embedded across much of America; nonetheless, state lawmakers and the public alike are becoming more accepting towards new forms of gaming with several major federal statutes opening the way.
Not long ago, the Federal Wire Act of 1961 was a significant impediment to states looking to provide new forms of online gambling. Although originally the law only prohibited transmission of sports betting information across state lines, a 2011 reinterpretation opened the door for interstate lotteries, fantasy sports and skill gaming – although in 2019 the Department of Justice complicated matters further by revoking that interpretation and reinstating an version of it that prohibits most gambling activities.
Despite legal uncertainty, the industry has made significant strides. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware each launched online casinos in 2013, followed by Pennsylvania in 2017; following PASPA being struck down in 2018, sports betting is legal in all 20 U.S. states where it exists; California and Texas being two major markets remain without legal options available to them for sports betting.
However, more states are anticipated to introduce legal sports betting over time. North Dakota plans on offering retail sports betting at tribal casinos in March 2020 with online casino gaming coming shortly thereafter. Furthermore, Ohio passed legislation legalizing sports betting but won’t go live until Jan 1 2023.