Remember way back in the early 00’s when it seemed like everyone was gambling in online casinos? Casinos that had to flee the restrictive laws of the US and set up shop offshore?
People were screaming for online gaming to be made legal here, so we could satisfy our poker jones without feeling like we were anteing up in some floating back room card game. Or worry about federal agents rappelling off our roof while we played Texas Hold ‘Em in our boxers. Or, if we weren’t “playing for fun,” wondering if, how, and when we were gonna get our pay outs.
Well, some of us finally got our wish, with online casinos first legalized in Delaware and Nevada, and other states, like New Jersey, passing laws to allow residents to play in a real money online casino. More states plan to follow suit. Now you can safely use your credit card to open an online gaming account with their approved online casinos, and be confident they will adhere to the posted odds.
So now that it’s legal, are people rushing to play? Apparently not as many as the states thought. According to a USA Today article, New Jersey originally estimated legal online gambling would bring the state $180 million in additional tax revenues. When the budget was signed, the number was revised down to $160 million. So how much did New Jersey bring in? With one month to go in their fiscal year, they had collected just $9.3 million, or around 5% of the original estimate. Delaware only took in $7.5 million, while Nevada, which only legalized poker, added a whopping $700,000 in tax revenues.
What’s the reason? Why aren’t the numbers higher? Is it because some of the mystique is gone? Is playing in a legal casino somehow less desirable than skirting the laws and playing in an offshore casino? Maybe. It could also be that online gambling has been illegal for so long, many people don’t know certain states now allow it. And while these states have taken a run at legalizing online gaming, others are watching to see how they do. So far the numbers aren’t promising, which means that if we want more states to give the thumbs up, we’ve gotta log on and play.