Online gambling has exploded in popularity since the late 1990s. From just fifteen sites in 1996, the industry has grown to include hundreds of operators offering a huge variety of casino games and sports betting. While federal laws have prevented real money gaming from launching in many areas, states have been able to set their own regulations and are largely responsible for the current state of online gambling in the United States.
The first online casinos started to appear in the mid-1990s, and were regulated by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The governing body aims to keep players safe and fair by ensuring that operators are licensed and have the appropriate credentials. The Commission also monitors the integrity of the game play and keeps financial records to prevent fraud.
A number of countries around the world still restrict or ban online gambling, but the practice is widely legal in the US and some other major markets. The most important thing to remember is that it’s illegal to gamble without a license, and anyone caught violating the law could face serious penalties including imprisonment and fines.
New York is one of the largest gambling markets in the country, and iGaming is poised to make a big impact once it launches. Sports betting has already launched, and the same companies that operate the state’s sportsbooks are expected to launch New York online casinos once it gets the go-ahead. The pending launch of New York online casinos will also need to address age restrictions and geolocation technology, similar to what has been put in place for mobile sportsbooks.
Despite centuries of anti-gambling aversion, state and local lawmakers are increasingly open to the idea of introducing online slots and other casino games. Many are taking advantage of the ability for states to decide their own gambling laws and are now pushing for online poker, blackjack, video poker and other games. State lawmakers have been leading the charge, but it has been harder to get federal legislation passed.
The state of New York isn’t ready to jump on the iGaming bandwagon just yet, but there is hope that it will eventually join Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Nevada, Connecticut and Michigan in the near future. Senator Joe Addabbo introduced a bill this year that would allow for the launch of New York online casinos, and it is likely that this and other bills will be included in next spring’s budget proposal. If the state can find a way to allow iGaming, it could generate billions of dollars in revenue, money that could be used for transportation and healthcare, two of the biggest parts of the state’s budget. The state could even tax online casinos the same as it does for sportsbooks. This will help to offset the costs and ensure that iGaming is profitable for the state.