Could we see a rise of online gambling in the United States?

Just over a month ago, the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could not regulate betting on sports — news that came as quite a relief to those who were already betting under the table. The decision means that tossing some money down on the outcome of a football game or boxing match can be made legal in states that choose to pass the laws, and several are already taking a good hard look at sports betting legislation.

But one can’t help but wonder if the court’s decision will have wider implications for gambling at large — namely, whether it will have any effect on online gambling, which still largely lives in the shadows.

Where the law stands

According to the website Vegas Click, which focuses on questions pertaining to gambling and the law, it’s not necessarily illegal at the federal level to gamble online. There is no federal law on the books for online gambling with regards to casino-type games, though despite the Supreme Court ruling mentioned above, it remains a violation of federal law for websites to accept sports bets online.

There are, however, states that prohibit online gambling individually. These states — Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin — have specific laws that make it illegal for citizens to gamble online. Though convictions are extremely rare, it remains a distinct possibility that someone in any of these states could face charges for placing online bets.

Do you live in Delaware, Nevada, or New Jersey? You can rest easy then, as these states have made online gambling legal. It’s worth noting that Nevada’s law very specifically legalizes online poker, but nothing outside of that.

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Where we could be headed

The challenge now that sports betting is no longer being regulated by the federal government is this: can online sports betting safely be implemented across the country? If we see the push for sports betting reach websites based in the U.S., that could pave the way for more states to allow a wider variety of online gambling.

At the moment, a lot of players in the United States play on websites that are based elsewhere in the world, which is why you see folks playing NetBet roulette games (on a UK-based website) or on gambling sites based out of Canada. It’s easier to avoid running afoul of the various state laws this way. But the shifting opinion on gambling as a whole has the potential to provide more choice. We could someday see more U.S.-based gambling websites should more states move toward online gambling legalization. And we could see websites that someday provide all types of gambling, from sports betting to casino games and everything in between.

What do you think?

Do you feel that we’re moving toward a future where online gambling is more accepted? Leave us your thoughts below.

About the author

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over eight years. He covers consumer electronics, Web companies, and gaming.

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