The United States of America is the world’s second largest games market, with almost 180 million players estimated to have spent over $150 billion in 2018.
On May 14th, 2018, a truly significant event happened in the global gaming industry – the strike down of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA – marking the start of a new ‘gold rush” in the United States.
Time for Gaming Operators to Place the Bets
This move was labeled “transformational” by a large number of betting companies and is expected to change the balance in the global gaming and betting industry. With the UK market under increased regulatory change and new higher levels of taxation and the majority of European markets implementing regulatory frameworks for online gambling, operators see the opening of the US market as a growth opportunity and potentially the industry’s next big jackpot.
European operators encouraged by the drop of the PASPA have started a new “gold rush” on the US market. Since they already have the online know-how which most of the US land-based casinos lack, European operators are looking to leverage their knowledge, technology, and marketing skills to start mining the mother lode.
As a result, we already witnessed several high-profile, high-stakes partnerships between some of the biggest operators as they are planning their strategies and jostle for a prime position on the new market. It is time for the operators to place their bets, and keep their eyes on who plays their hand next.
Online Gaming and Gambling in the USA in 2019
It took a while for online sports betting to make the scene in the USA. In 2015 it was daily fantasy sports that forced legislatures into action, leading to the legalization of DFS in 18 states. While DFS pushed online gaming bills in the background, its proliferation had a significant impact on the perception of online gambling and the need for its legalization.
Even though PASPA was struck down in May 2018, the implementation of robust regulations is often named as one of the critical reasons for the industry’s slow start, but operators and regulators are more than happy to make that trade-off because the regulations have proven extraordinarily effective and resulted in many positive changes.
The end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 came with a lot of twists and turns– expansions, legal developments, and interstate and intrastate collaborations. Online gaming is changing rapidly, with eSports continuing to grow, and predicted to be worth $1.5 billion globally by 2020. The participation options for players are increasing thanks to innovation in mobile technology, motion-capture technology, and advanced algorithms. Mobile betting is another driver of sports betting, while virtual reality and games of skill are becoming more and more popular.
At the moment, online gaming and online sports betting are legal in several states, including Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Mexico. And at least a dozen more are expected to follow in the footsteps and pass online gambling laws. New York is yet to legalize sports betting, and Rhode Island already established legal betting, which was a move to promote the budget bill but they still need to start legalizing online betting. Additionally, states that do allow online betting are engaging in interstate agreements. That further enables the expansion of online poker, allowing players from different states to play against one another.
But, the one thing that remains to be a big challenge is payment processing due to the lack of acceptance of online legal gaming by the credit card companies.
Will USA become the New Biggest iGaming Market
America is without a question one of the biggest gaming markets in the world. Both, from the land-based perspective and the new potential for individual states introducing legislation that allows the provision of other forms of intrastate and interstate online sports betting.
And as we enter 2019, the second wave of states considers legalizing sports betting. It is expected that throughout 2019-2020 numerous states will use sports betting, online sports betting to be precise, to lay the ground for introducing comprehensive gaming expansion packages.
But unlike the first wave, the second wave of legislation will happen at a slower and steadier pace. States are even more motivated to legalize all forms of online gaming and gambling. Firstly, due to the crossover among stakeholders of online sports betting and online casinos. Secondly, they are incentivized by the revenue that can be made by introducing a comprehensive suite of products packaged together – Sportsbook, Casino engine, Poker, Lottery, and DFS.
Furthermore, with all the latest marketing and tech innovation coming out from the Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and Palo Alto, and the introduction of regulated, socially responsible online gaming, the USA might come back on top even stronger than before and take the crown with online gaming from Europe.