US Online Gambling Legislation – What to Expect in 2019

Written by: Sadonna Price, OUSC Expert in Online Casinos and Poker
6 minute read

US Online Gambling Legalization in 2019Last year we watched as almost every state in the US updated legislation involving gambling in some form or fashion. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned in May 2018, which paved the way for sports betting in the US, but also helped the online gambling industry as a whole.

In 2019, online gambling is making its way back into the spotlight. Read on to see what’s currently going on with iGaming in the US as well as what we expect to happen this year.

What’s the Current Status of Online Gambling in the US?

Several big changes took place in the US last year that were positive for the online gambling industry. Already this year, states such as New York have introduced legislation to see online poker gaming come to pass and Pennsylvania should finally be ready to launch their online gambling industry.

The Impact of Midterm Elections on the Gambling Industry

Midterm elections affect gambling industryIn November 2018, the US Midterm elections played a vital role in the online gambling industry. Key lawmakers either kept their positions within legislature or new people are now in positions of power to be able to push for legislation.

In Michigan, Representative Brandt Iden was re-elected, maintaining his seat on the House. He is a pro online gambling advocate and has introduced legislation in the past. Iden plans on continuing to work towards seeing his state get in on the iGaming action with further legislative efforts.

The elections also saw several states have amendments approved to move forward with gambling expansions. Voters in Arkansas approved a bill to allow casino legalization in four counties: Garland, Crittenden, Jefferson, and Pope.

Sports Betting is Back on the Gambling Field

Sports betting in the USAIn May, the United States Supreme Court decided to rule that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional. This opened up individual states to offer sports betting. Because of this change, at least eight states have already launched services, both online and land-based.

This is causing a domino effect all throughout the country as more states are working to pass legislation. Just last month, Connecticut proposed a bill to legalize online sports betting. States that already offer sports betting services include New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

The New Wire Act Opinion Shakes Up the Industry

Pennsylvania Urges Casino Operators to Comply with Wire ActAt the start of the year, on January 14th, the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion that reinterprets the federal Wire Act, which prohibits interstate wagering, to apply to any form of gambling that crosses state lines.

This turn of events has brought a lot of uncertainty over existing online betting and lottery operations. It also puts the brakes on states that are considering legalizing online gambling. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein advised prosecutors to delay implementing the new opinion for 90 days, until April 14, to allow gambling operators to modify their practices.

US States That Have Legalized Online Gambling

Currently, four states have legal online gambling in the US:

The first to do so were Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. New Jersey and Delaware both started in 2013 and offer online casino and poker games. Nevada started that same year, but only focused on online poker gaming.

A gaming reform package was passed in Pennsylvania in December 2017 that legalized both online poker and online casino gaming in the state. In 2018, regulations were created and licensing approved for several operators, with gaming reportedly set to begin early this year.

Online Gambling Revenue Rises in New Jersey

Overall, the most successful has been New Jersey. The state has managed to continue to grow their online gaming empire, raking in more than $20 million each month. The Golden Nugget has been the most successful operator in the state, setting new records almost monthly. The brand has hit the $9 million mark with monthly revenues which is more than double their second place competitor, the Borgata, which usually brings in around $3 to $4 million a month.

Top States To Most Likely Legalize Online Gambling in 2019

So far we have already seen movement in several US states to pass online gambling legislation in 2019.

New York

One of the first states to introduce legislation was New York. Senator Joseph Addabbo has already introduced Senate Bill 18, set to see online poker legalized for players 21 years of age or over. The legislation would allow for 11 online poker licenses and only Class III gaming facilities or lottery facilities could apply. All eyes will be on the state to see if the bill can move forward.


Michigan is essentially back to square one after seeing an online gambling bill make it all the way to the governor’s desk. State Representative, Brandt Iden was able to see his proposal move through the House and Senate only to be vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder right before he left the position. The Governor said that the veto was handed down due to issues with the Michigan Lottery and how they would be affected which would harm the education funding for the state.

West Virginia

Lawmakers in West Virginia recently put forward a new bill to make online gambling legal in the state. This is the third year in a row that legal representatives have been working towards enlisting West Virginia among states that allow legal online gambling.

The new bill is known as HB 2178 and was introduced by the State Representative Shawn Fluharty. The goal is to legalize both online poker and online casino gambling services under the five existing retail casino brands of the state.

What’s To Come for US Online Gambling in 2019?

There’s no doubt that the new Wire Act opinion has left a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of online gambling. Already we know that New Jersey gambling advocates are preparing to sue the Justice Department and are collecting data from gambling operators and state regulators to establish the harm the new opinion would cause. The OUSC team will be keeping a close look at any updates on this topic throughout 2019.

Be sure to check out our in-depth State-by-State Online Gambling Legalization Guide for a closer look at legislation updates in the US.  We will continue to keep our readers informed as changes are made so you can be aware of what is happening in your region as well as other areas.

Sadonna Price

Sadonna Price OUSC Expert in Online Casinos and Poker

Sadonna is a former professional poker player. Passionate about writing and loves using her creativity to provide insight into the interesting gambling world.

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