In the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was growing rapidly in popularity, online gambling seemed like a way to circumvent government controls and prohibition. It was a simple process: a site operator would establish itself in a friendly offshore jurisdiction, and then begin accepting wagers from any interested party. This blatant end-run around state laws proved to be highly disruptive, and in response Congress and the Justice Department sought ways to curb the new activity.
The federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) made it illegal for gambling sites to accept deposits and withdrawals from US citizens. However, this didn’t stop many states from legalizing online gambling within their borders. The majority of these states began with horse racing and lottery games, and they later expanded to include online casino gambling. To make sure they weren’t violating the UIGEA, states required operators to use payment processors that were located in their territory.
Online gambling continued to grow as technology improved and people became more comfortable with the concept. By the late 2000s, online poker, sports betting and casino gambling had all been introduced to the United States. Nevertheless, the legal status of these activities remained somewhat murky, and in some cases, they were even banned in some states.
As the industry grew, more states embraced iGaming, and by 2024, a seventh state had joined the party, with Rhode Island launching its first online casinos on June 20, 2023. The state is partnered with big names in the iGaming industry, including 888 Casino and Golden Nugget.
Pennsylvania rolled out its iGaming market in 2019 after a successful soft launch in May of that year, and is now home to nine online casinos backed by major players such as MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and FanDuel. The state also boasts one of the best live casino offerings in the nation.
Connecticut and Michigan also launched their iGaming markets in 2021, but New Jersey is still working to perfect its platform. The Garden State is expected to launch its own iGaming offering in the fall of 2022.
Vermont is another state that is awaiting the launch of its iGaming platform, and will likely wait to see how New York’s efforts fare before making any decisions. The Green Mountain State has only a few land-based casinos, so there’s little to no demand for iGaming.
Arkansas passed sports betting legislation in early 2022, but online casino play wasn’t included. The state will likely wait to launch its iGaming options until after they have their sports betting system in place.
Texas is the final state that doesn’t have access to iGaming, but they will probably follow the lead of the ten other states and introduce it in the future. In the meantime, residents can gamble at social casinos that accept Texas residents, such as Pulsz Casino. While this type of gaming isn’t real money, it’s a great way to practice your skills without spending any money.