Exploring the Evolution of iGaming Legalization in the United States

Online gambling platforms, such as online casinos and sports betting websites, have gained considerable traction in recent years. Millions of people worldwide are becoming familiar with online gambling, exploring various casinos and sportsbooks on the web.

While online gambling is gaining global recognition, several countries, including the United States, have yet to fully legalize online casinos and digital sportsbooks. The U.S. can be quite strict when it comes to issuing gambling licenses and permissions for casinos and sportsbooks.

Given the recent explosion in popularity of online gambling, U.S. gambling agencies are still navigating the process of properly legalizing online casinos and betting websites. Nevertheless, a few states in the U.S. have already legalized online gambling and iGaming, and they are likely to be followed by other states in the future.

Why Is the Legalization Process of iGaming Slow in the US?

The gradual progress in legalizing iGaming or online casinos across many U.S. states can be attributed to several factors intricately tied to existing laws prohibiting non-land-based gambling. In this context, understanding the laws that impact online gambling and iGaming in the United States is essential.

As of 2022, only seven states in the United States have legalized online casinos. Given that these states already boast a substantial gambling consumer base, it comes as little surprise that they have embraced the legalization of online casinos. If you’re eager to explore online gambling, finding the best online casino in these states is now a relatively straightforward task.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, commonly known as UIGEA, is a legislation that bars offshore betting sites and online casinos from catering to American customers or players on their platforms. Essentially, this law dictates that casinos and sportsbooks not registered or licensed by the US government are prohibited from operating within the country.

It’s worth noting that UIGEA doesn’t make online gambling itself illegal. Instead, it focuses on the financial transactions associated with unlawful Internet gambling activities. Additionally, the legal landscape surrounding online gambling in the United States continues to evolve, with some states legalizing and regulating various forms of online betting and gaming.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, was a federal law in the United States that was enacted in 1992. It formerly restricted all U.S. states, with the exception of Nevada, from legalizing traditional sports wagering or betting. While the law was in effect, a few states were granted permission to establish limited forms of betting. However, Nevada maintained a monopoly in the betting industry as the sole state authorized to operate a sportsbook.

Recognizing the unfairness and potential unconstitutionality of this law for many U.S. states, it was ultimately overturned in 2018. The repeal of PASPA opened the door for individual states to legalize and regulate sports betting within their borders. It empowered U.S. states to legalize and establish land-based sportsbooks.

This landmark decision also paved the way for the emergence of various online sportsbooks accessible through websites or smartphone apps, providing users with options to find the best online casino. Since then, numerous states have moved to allow sports betting, either at land-based venues or through online platforms.

The Interstate Wire Act of 1961

Enacted in 1961, the Interstate Wire Act was designed to dismantle sports betting operations run by mafia groups in the United States, primarily operating through “wire communications” such as telephones and other communication devices. The term “wire communications” was somewhat ambiguous, leading to the inclusion of the Internet as a prohibited medium for sports betting under the Act.

Fortunately, in 2011, the Interstate Wire Act underwent a revision to provide clearer definitions and limitations. The updated version clarified that the law exclusively pertains to sports betting, alleviating its impact on other forms of online gambling. This revision granted U.S. states the authority to develop, regulate, and legalize various online gambling activities, marking a notable shift from the previous restrictions.

By 2018, the landscape of online sports betting saw increased accessibility following the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Despite these advancements, development in 2019 saw the U.S. Department of Justice recommending a return to the original, broader interpretation of the Interstate Wire Act that encompasses all forms of online gambling. This recommendation sparked ongoing debates through the early 2020s. However, given the establishment of online gambling platforms in several U.S. states, it appears unlikely that the Interstate Wire Act will undergo further revision.

It’s important to note that legal interpretations and opinions regarding the Interstate Wire Act have evolved over the years, influencing the landscape of online gambling in the United States. The status and implications of the law can be subject to changes based on legal developments and court decisions.