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Will COVID-19 Result in Online Gaming and Mobile Sports Betting Legalization In More US States?

Sadonna Price
COVID-19 May Result In More US States Legalizing Online Gambling

During a recent Sports Betting in America discussion at the inaugural SBC Digital Summit, it was considered that states might be more receptive to online gambling options with the recent closures of casinos. On a remote call during the summit were several gaming industry executives as well as consultants. Included in the mix was John Pappas, the CEO and founder of Corridor Consulting

Pappas is also the former Poker Players Alliance executive director and has much experience dealing with online gambling legalization. During the remote call, Pappas stated that he believes one good thing that will come from the pandemic is that online gaming will expand in the US. According to Pappas, industry leaders will need to provide insight to lawmakers who are unfamiliar with legal internet gambling, helping them to see the upside. 

Pappas stated that for states that need the revenue, education must be provided as to why a competitive market is so important. With a competitive market, there are low tax rates and reasonable fees that will help to create more long term revenues rather than focuses on a short term gain. 

Right now in the US, online casinos are only accessible in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. In Nevada, the state allows online poker to take place. 

A Devastating Blow 

It was around mid-March that every commercial and tribal casino in the US began shutting down due to the highly contagious coronavirus. Gaming companies as well as Native American tribes were hit hard as their main source of income was cut off completely. Right now, some tribal casinos have started to reopen but commercial casinos are still shut down due to state orders. 

And even if commercial casinos are back up and running, there is not going to be an influx of visitors as there was before. The federal government is still encouraging caution from citizens in the hopes that the spread of the virus will slow down. 

Online gaming provides an in-between as the US tries to get back to some sense of normalcy. With iGaming, states would have income that can be generated while players are at home. In states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, online casinos have seen a huge increase in gameplay. New Jersey earned $64.8 million in March while Pennsylvania grossed $24.3 million. 

We could see states begin to propose new legislation involving online gambling as the need for revenues continues amidst the seemingly never-ending pandemic. 

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