As 2018 comes to a close, we can reflect on the year as a good one for the gambling industry in the U.S. Many changes have taken place, from online gambling legislation to the introduction of sports betting. One of the main takeaways from 2018 is that states are becoming more open to the idea of online casino gaming, something that will hopefully continue in 2019.
This past year news outlets have been busy covering the gambling landscape in the U.S. We have seen many developments and changes that are positive for both players and operators. The staff at OUSC reviewed some of the main events and news that shaped the online gambling industry this year.
Top 10 Online Gambling Highlights of 2018
The following list is a recap of some of the main online gambling events and news that made U.S. headlines in 2018.
1. Pennsylvania Began Online Gaming Licensing Process
Right before summer this year, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board decided to start the application process for land-based casinos to begin applying for online gaming licensing. Applications began rolling in July, with venues such as Parx Casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort, and SugarHouse Casino looking to offer online casino and poker gaming.
Pennsylvania legalized online gaming in late 2017 and have used 2018 as a time to set up operations, including the licensing process.
2. Bovada Launched Fresh New Site
In July of this year, online casino operator Bovada decided to change the look and feel of their site with a new relaunch. Tweaks were made to the navigation of the site as well as creating a new look for the brand.
Players now have access to a faster and easier experience, which means better gameplay. The site changed for both desktop and mobile devices, providing a better option for all players.
3. Sports Betting Legalized: States Offering Online Option
In mid-May, the United States Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act(PASPA), which opened up the pathway for states to choose individually if they wanted to legalize sports betting.
Several states offer services in land-based and online form. New Jersey was one of the first states to offer sports betting in physical sportsbooks as well as online formats.
4. PokerStars Set Up Online Gaming in Pennsylvania
PokerStars is perhaps the most well-known online poker brand in operation today, with the company now offering casino and sports betting online along with their poker services. The brand has been in operation for some time within the U.S. in the state of New Jersey.
In August of 2018, the brand announced a partnership with the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania set to offer a full suite of online gaming content within the state.
5. LasVegasUSA Casino Launched Mobile Application
Nowadays, one of the keys to having a successful online casino is to have a mobile app or at least a mobile-friendly site. Online casino provider LasVegasUSA knows this and decided to launch their mobile application, providing players with an option for gaming on the go.
The application launched for Android devices initially, providing players with quality casino gaming while away from home.
6. New Jersey Broke Casino Revenue Records
When it comes to online gambling in the U.S., New Jersey is the top operating state. Month after month, the state marked new records, easily surpassing the $25 million mark. The state is being used as an example by other states as legislation is being crafted. Everyone wants to be able to enjoy the level of success that has been seen via casinos in Atlantic City that offer online gaming services.
In September 2018, the online gaming industry grew by 30%, with much of the growth attributed to the new sports betting industry. Online casino revenues were up just over $24 million for the month with online poker coming in at $1.6 million.
7. Illinois Moved Forward With Online Gambling Legislation
Throughout 2018, several states have considered online gambling legislation. In October, a hearing was held in Illinois to discuss online gambling as well as sports betting. While legislation has not moved forward, the state is set up to consider the option in 2019 and hopefully, we will see Illinois, as well as other states, move forward with iGaming bills.
8. Midterm Elections Shape the Future of Online Gambling
In November, the midterm elections saw several changes taking place regarding gambling. One of the main states to see changes was Arkansas. Over 54% of voters approved an amendment to set up casinos in four counties. This was a huge step for the state and one of many ways gambling will be expanding in the nation.
On that same note, Michigan Representative Brandt Iden was able to secure a third term in the state House. This is a victory for gambling proponents as Iden is in favor of online gambling in the state. With his appointment, Michigan will hopefully be able to move forward with legislation in 2019.
9. Ignition Casino Launched Live Dealer Games
The new table games offered in the live dealer section include:
- Live Super 6
- Live Blackjack Early Payout
10. Café Casino Unveiled New and Improved Site
In late November, Café Casino launched a new and improved version of their online gaming site. The platform made the necessary changes to update the site, offering a more attractive game selection, including popular slot titles like 777 Deluxe and Delicious Candies. The website now includes new features, functionalities, and a fresh new logo.
What Can We Expect From Online Gambling in 2019?
It’s safe to say that this year has been an exciting one for the gambling industry. As 2019 begins, we look forward to Pennsylvania launching their online gaming services as well as other states introducing legislation to expand their gambling industries, be it with sports betting, online casino and/or poker games.
As always, the staff at OUSC will stay on top of all new developments and keep readers informed of any changes that take place in the U.S. online gambling scene. Don’t forget to check out our U.S. Gambling States Page for relevant updates on your home state.