Today, the US online gambling market is valued at more than USD 2,178.29 million. Over the last decade, the industry has gone through an incredible period of growth on a global scale, yet this growth has been slowed somewhat in the US by the traditionally harsh laws which have limited market expansion.
However, as the digital era has crept upon us and laws across the US have loosened, today, the US has a healthy iGaming market that continues to grow and thrive. Below, we’ll take a look at the history of the iGaming market and evaluate how the iGaming market has become such a powerhouse in the US, hosting some of the best online casinos.
What is iGaming
iGaming is a term that covers any kind of online betting or gambling game. This could envelope live casino games, real money slot games, sports betting, horse racing, and more. The iGaming sector has grown in popularity as internet technology has become more readily available and economically accessible across the globe.
Today, more people than ever are opting to participate in online games over visiting a brick-and-mortar casino venue.
The History of the iGaming Market
The iGaming industry has a rich history that began in the 90s and rapidly expanded on a global scale, even if it wasn’t taken off in the US yet. While land-based casinos were popular in many countries before the 90s, this period saw a great shift in the way people consumed video games.
At this point, people began to see the power and convenience of the world wide web and began choosing a digital experience over a physical one. While modern technologies that close up the gap between the physical and digital worlds weren’t available at this point, the novelty of online gaming was somewhat new and spread like wildfire across the world.
Let’s take a look at this history below.
1994 was an iconic moment when Microgaming developed its first online iGaming website. This meant that people across the world with access to the internet could now play their favorite casino games.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission came into effect. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission protected aboriginal rights on their land in the US and governed gambling activity that happened there. Today, they have licensed over 50 gaming operators and represent an estimated 250 iGaming sites.
By 2000, many countries had opened up their doors to the iGaming industry. At this point, there were roughly 8 million users worldwide, and global revenue surpassed 2 million dollars.
In 2010, we saw another monumental leap for the iGaming industry when mobile gaming really took off. At this point, players were wagering amounts up to 10 billion dollars.
Fast forward to the current decade, and iGaming is incredibly popular across the globe. In 2020, the global iGaming market reached a worth of 59.6 billion US dollars.
How the Change in Law Fuelled iGaming Growth in the US
The gambling law history in the US is an interesting one in which; before the revolution, gambling was largely unregulated and used commonly by colonies as a way to generate revenue and raise funds for local schools and universities through community lotteries.
However, it was the influence of the British Crown which fuelled tensions between England and the colonies, and gambling began to be frowned upon. After the American Revolution, anti-gambling forces began to gain recognition and followers, meaning that state-sponsored lotteries finally came to an end.
Many gambling activities eventually became illegal until the Great Depression meant that some gambling activity was allowed again. In addition, after the success of gambling activity in New Jersey and Nevada, some forms of gambling activity were legalized and regulated in these states again. In 1977, gambling activity was legalized in Atlantic City, and it soon became a booming tourist destination.
The gambling enforcement act of 2006 is mainly what has prohibited the growth of the iGaming industry across the US. While the act did not outlaw online gambling, it made it illegal for any financial institution to do transactions with online gambling establishments, essentially making online gambling inaccessible.
Fast forward to the present today, and these gambling laws have largely been removed. While there are still strict gambling laws in many states which are controlled by local authorities, there’s no longer a blanket law that restricts gambling activity across the US.
Growth of the iGaming Market
Today, online gambling is booming across the US since many states have now legalized iGaming. According to statistics, Pennsylvania is the fastest growing iGaming market, with new laws in this state allowing for online casino activity, online poker, sports betting, and much more.
The iGaming landscape has also become significantly more competitive, in which big names like 888 Holdings, William Hill, and Caesars Entertainment have become some of the main controlling entities in the industry.
Overall, while the US has had a complicated history with gambling, we are finally beginning to see monumental progress for the iGaming industry across the country. While there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of online gambling being accessible in every state, the market is growing significantly, and profits are increasing at an outstanding rate.