Legalized mobile sports betting has spread throughout the country in the years since PASPA was overturned, becoming legal in over 30 states. The same can’t be said for online casino gaming, which has been legally offered in some U.S. states since 2013.
Six states — Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — currently offer legal iCasino gaming. Delaware and New Jersey were early adopters of iCasino, allowing the form of gambling nearly a decade ago.
Other states have legalized online casino gaming more recently, with Connecticut launching the offering in October. That raises the question: Which states could be next to legalize iCasinos?
Indiana introduces iGaming legislation
A pair of Indiana bills were introduced this week, both with the intention of legalizing iGaming within the Hoosier State. Republicans Doug Gutwein and Ethan Manning filed HB 1356, calling for an 18% tax on adjusted gaming revenue. Republican Alan Morrison, who filed a bill aimed at legalizing iGaming in Indiana last year as well, filed HB 1337, which also plans to tax iGaming at 18%.
Both bills were referred to the House Committee on Public Policy, and they’d need to make it through the House and Senate before reaching Gov. Eric Holcomb and potentially being signed into law. While far from a sure thing, Indiana drafting pieces of legislation related to iGaming puts it ahead of a few other states that could legalize online casinos in the coming years but don’t seem to have upcoming legislation related to the matter.
NEW: Two iGaming bills have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature. HB 1337 & 1356 would allow state-licensed racetracks and riverboat gambling venues to operate interactive casino-style games. Tax rate = 18%.
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) January 11, 2022
Mobile sports betting is currently legal in Indiana, and the state also has a retail casino presence. There are over a dozen casinos currently operating in Indiana, with many of them also offering retail sports betting options for customers.
Don’t hold your breath on Illinois
Illinois is considered a state that may soon legalize online casinos, but don’t expect that to occur in 2022.
“Likelihood for this year is nil, but future years, I don’t know,” Illinois state Sen. Dave Syverson told US Bets.
Syverson said a shortened legislative session during an election year puts the priority of legislators elsewhere in 2022. Additionally, there’s currently a focus on land-based casinos before the consideration of online casino gaming.
“I do not see there being any kind of movement to online gaming at least until all the brick-and-mortar facilities get done,” Syverson said.
Syverson said a handful of land-based casinos are expected to be built in the next year or so throughout the state, and he expects that process to be fairly time consuming. Syverson also added that there could be debate among casinos about the potential negative impact iCasino gaming could have on retail locations.
If a land-based casino doesn’t have a mobile app, would the influx of online gaming hurt that casino? On the flipside, if the land-based casinos did have iCasino apps ready to launch, there could be a push toward legalizing online casino gaming.
Syverson was adamant that online casinos won’t be legalized in Illinois this year, but the possibility can’t be ruled out in 2023 and beyond.
Maryland in the pipeline?
Legal online casino gaming likely won’t come to Maryland in 2022 due to the legislative procedures needed to put it in place, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an effort to bring iCasinos to Maryland in the next 12 months.
Sports betting is currently a major focus for the Maryland lottery, as retail sports betting launched in December. A handful of casinos have launched retail sports wagering operations in the last month or so and more launches are expected in 2022. Mobile sports betting is on a slower timeline with a potential launch in late 2022.
A line of people gathers outside MGM National Harbor’s BetMGM sportsbook. Gov. Larry Hogan placed the first legal bet in the state around 1 p.m. and now the general public is able to access the sportsbook. pic.twitter.com/V8KuchnRxF
— Bennett Conlin (@BennettConlin) December 9, 2021
It’s possible that online casino gaming could become a focus in a few months after the lottery works through more logistics related to sports betting.
“Maryland’s Constitution requires that any expansion of commercial gambling be approved by voters in a statewide referendum,” a Maryland lottery representative told US Bets via email. “It’s likely that the addition of online casinos would be considered an expansion of commercial gambling, so there would need to be a referendum, and then the General Assembly would need to pass enabling legislation — similar to what happened with sports wagering, where the referendum was in November 2020, and the General Assembly passed the law in April 2021. And the same process took place when the casinos were approved.”
iCasino not currently on Louisiana’s radar
Legal retail sports betting launched in Louisiana in October, and mobile sports betting is expected to launch by the end of January. As for online casinos, that might be a bit further away from becoming a reality.
“In order for there to be a licensed ‘online casino’ in our state, it would require the favorable passage of legislation by the La. Legislature,” Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana State Gaming Control Board, told US Bets via email. “Also it would require action by the Governor of La. to either sign the legislation, veto the legislation, or let it become law without his signature. Should he veto it, the Legislature could possibly override the Governor’s veto. At this time, I am not aware of any movement by the Legislature to move forward with such legislation.”
Louisiana’s legislative session for 2022 begins on March 14 and lasts through June 6. A bill would need to come up during that time for any potential movement toward legal iCasino gaming in Louisiana in 2022.