The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown forced many businesses to permanently or temporarily close their doors, reducing tax revenue and putting a strain on state budgets. To offset the loss and create a new stream of funds, an increasing number of states are legalizing online gambling.
Michigan’s success story showcases the earning potential of a lively internet gambling market: On March 16, the Michigan Gaming Control Board released a report containing the revenue figures for the state’s licensed internet gambling operators. In February alone, online sports-betting platforms raked in $9.5 million and handled a total of $301.9 million in bets. This represents a 162% increase from the $115.2 million they processed in the last ten days of January 2021. Since the state introduced internet gambling on January 22, 2021, taxing online casino operators and bookmakers has earned Michigan $18.5 million and made it one of the largest online gambling markets in the US.
Michigan is not alone in this move towards online gambling: In early January, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a proposal to legalize online sports betting: The New York State Gaming Commission would select and license an operator to provide mobile sports betting. As is the case in most states where online gambling is legal, the operator in question would have to partner with an existing casino in the state. Illinois is also in the process of passing the Internet Gaming Act, a piece of legislation that would legalize online poker and casino gambling.
All in all, we can expect an increasing number of states to legalize online betting and gambling in some shape or form. This move would loosen up the infamously rigid US online gambling laws and bring much-needed financial relief to COVID-stricken state funding.