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Public support for gambling has waxed and waned over the many years since the founding of this nation, but never has the industry been stronger than it is right now. Today, gambling revenue is measured in the tens-of-billions of dollars with land-based and online casinos dotting the country from Nevada to New Jersey.
Brick-and-mortar casinos operate in forty states today while online casinos have been authorized in four states. New Jersey and Delaware have online casinos open for business right now while Pennsylvania and West Virginia have approved legislation to bring gambling online in the near future.
In addition, Nevada offers online poker and is likely to authorize casino games at some point as well. The demand for online gambling in the USA far outpaces supply right now, and all signs are that more states will be following New Jersey’s lead over the next few years.
Online Casinos in the USA
US residents have been visiting online casinos since the late 90s, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the first licensed casino sites opened in New Jersey and Delaware. Changes to federal law in 2011 paved the way for states to legalize and regulate online casinos.
New Jersey and Delaware were first out the gate with casino sites approved in 2013. In both states, online casinos operate off licenses issued to land-based operators. In New Jersey, for example, most of the major Atlantic City casinos now operate at least one online casino that accepts players from around the state.
Legal online casinos are active in two states right now with two more states set to go live within months.
Right now, you can gamble online legally in:
- New Jersey
Additionally, legislation has been fully approved in two more states. All that’s needed in these states is for regulators to process applications, issue licenses and set launch dates.
States on the verge of launching online casinos:
- West Virginia
Lawmakers in other states have introduced similar legislation and are likely to join the party at some point as well.
New Jersey Online Casinos
New Jersey is home to a bustling online gambling industry that provides the state with millions in tax revenue every month. This is by far the largest online gaming market in the US thanks in equal parts to a large population, reasonable tax rates and regulations that support a competitive operating environment.
Land-based casinos hold all online gaming licenses under New Jersey regulations and may partner with third-party software providers to operate multiple gaming sites that are individually branded. Generally, the way it works is each casino operates one gambling site under its own name and then partners with other providers to operate additional gambling sites under different brands.
For example, the Golden Nugget operates GoldenNuggetCasino.com and PlaySugarHouse.com among others. Both sites operate off the original Golden Nugget license, but also compete with one another as each is powered by a different software provider.
By organizing the industry in this manner, New Jersey has set the stage for a competitive environment. Even though only seven land-based casinos have acquired online gambling licenses in New Jersey, they have combined to launch more than two dozen individual gambling sites altogether.
What this all means for you as the customer is you have your choice of licensed, legal online casinos that are all seeking to outdo one another in terms of game selection, promotions, VIP programs and payout odds. New Jersey really does serve as the example of a state getting it almost exactly right when it comes to fostering a functional online gaming industry.
New Jersey Quick Facts:
- First online casinos launched: 2013
- Online gaming regulator: NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE)
- Types of online gaming offered: slots, table games, poker, sports betting, horse racing and bingo
Delaware Online Casinos
Delaware passed legislation in 2012 authorizing the state’s three racetrack-casinos to open online casinos and poker sites. Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway launched online gaming the following year and serve as the only licensed providers in Delaware.
Online casinos in Delaware offer a full range of real money table games, slots and poker, but the market here is not nearly as developed as it is in New Jersey due to the Delaware Lottery granting online gaming company 888 a monopoly over the operation of online gambling in the entire state.
For players, this means there are few distinguishing features between each of Delaware’s three casino sites. Each offers the same basic lineup of casino games and promotions, so it makes little difference which one you choose. The overall experience is similar across the board.
Delaware Quick Facts:
- First online casinos launched: 2013
- Online gaming regulator: DE Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and DE Lottery
- Types of online gaming offered: Slots, table games and poker
Online Gambling in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania approved online casinos as a part of a large gaming reform bill passed in 2017 that also legalized sports betting (online and in-person), online poker and online lottery games. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has already approved a handful of online gaming licenses and the first casino sites should be launching shortly.
Pennsylvania’s online gaming market is shaping up to be fairly competitive with most of the state’s casinos applying for internet casino licenses. So far, the following casinos have applied for online gaming licenses:
- Parx Casino
- Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia (under construction)
- Mount Airy
- Sands Casino
- Hollywood Casino
- Valley Forge
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Rivers Casino
- SugarHouse Casino
- Presque Isle
Additionally, two out-of-state casinos have applied for online gaming licenses in PA:
- MGM Resorts International
- Golden Nugget
The Pennsylvania Lottery has also begun offering online versions of its instant-win scratch games via PAiLottery.com. The instant win games offered by the PA Lottery resemble slots at first glance (a fact which caused quite a dust-up with the local casino industry), but function just like the scratch-off games one can find at any gas station with a few added graphics and animations.
Between casino games, sports betting and the lottery all going online, Pennsylvania is set to establish itself as a major online gaming market. Residents will soon have access to a full suite of online gaming provided by licensed operators.
Pennsylvania Quick Facts:
- First online casinos launched: Expected in 2019
- Online gaming regulator: PA Gaming Control Board (PGCB)
- Types of online gaming offered: Slots, table games, poker, sports betting and lottery
West Virginia Casino Sites
West Virginia legalized in-person and online sports betting in 2018 and then followed that up with a bill in 2019 to authorize online casinos. HB 2934, first introduced in February 2019, will allow each of the state’s five casinos to apply for a license to offer “interactive wagering” for players 21 or older and located within state lines.
The WV Lottery Commission (WVLC) still needs to iron out many of the details as it has been tasked with establishing regulations governing online casinos in the state. For example, it remains unknown if each land-based casino will be allowed to operate multiple websites (like New Jersey) or if each casino will be restricted to a single online presence (like Delaware).
What is known is each legal casino site will be asked to pony up a $250,000 licensing fee and revenues will be taxed at 15%.
West Virginia Quick Facts
- First online casinos launched: To be determined
- Online gaming regulator: WV Lottery Commission (WVLC)
- Types of online gaming offered: Slots, table games, poker and others as approved by the WVLC
Online Gambling FAQs
We will be going into great detail breaking down the casino industry throughout the remainder of this page, but below you can find quick answers to the most common questions regarding online gambling.
How old do I need to be to play casino games online for real money?
This issue is decided at the state level, but the minimum age to play in all states that have legalized online gambling so far is 21.
Is mobile gambling safe and fair?
Yes, provided you stick with licensed casino sites in your state. There are still certain offshore casino sites that accept Americans, but those sites are unregulated and there are no guarantees regarding the safety of your funds or the fairness of the games.
By comparison, licensed online casinos operate from within the US and are subject to strict oversight by each state’s gaming regulator. Obtaining an online gambling license in the United States is a difficult and time-consuming process usually restricted to operators that already have an established land-based presence.
Additionally, oversight does not end once a state has determined an applicant suitable for online gambling. Licensed gambling sites are also subject to ongoing monitoring, must file regular statistical reports and are subject to audits to ensure compliance with existing regulations.
What limits can I play for online?
This varies from casino to casino and from game to game, but generally online casinos accept wagers ranging from a few cents to hundreds of dollars per hand or spin of the reels.
How do I find the best online casino for me?
Finding the best online casino is part objective analysis, part personal preference. The best place to start is with a list of casino sites licensed in your state. Licensed casinos are safe, legal and generally of higher quality than illegal, offshore sites.
Once you know which online casinos are licensed in your state, you can narrow down your selection by personal preference. Some things to consider would be the types of games offered, welcome bonuses and loyalty programs.
Additionally, if you have a favorite land-based casino nearby, you may want to see if that casino has an online presence in order to take advantage of loyalty programs that cross over between online and in-person play.
Can I try the games for free?
Yes. Legal casinos in the USA offer demo versions of their games that you can play without depositing. Some casinos require you to sign up for an account and log in before trying the demo games while others will let you play with no registration necessary.
How much can I win playing online?
There are no limits to how much you can win playing online at legal casino sites. If you hit a major progressive jackpot at licensed gambling site, you’ll be paid the full amount within days. This is a major advantage over offshore casinos which a) are not guaranteed to pay at all and b) usually restrict withdrawals to a few thousand dollars per week.
How do I deposit to and withdraw from online casinos?
Most USA gambling sites support a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods including credit card, debit card, PayPal, Neteller, prepaid debit cards issued by the casino, electronic bank transfer, in-person at a local casino and cash via PayNearMe.
The exact list of deposit and withdrawal methods varies from one casino to the next, but you will usually have at least a few options to choose from.
Why am I being asked to provide proof of my identity?
Online casinos in the United States are subject to federal banking regulations dealing with know your customer (KYC) requirements. To put it simply, casino sites are required to verify your identity, age and location to satisfy federal anti-money laundering guidelines. State-level guidelines also require casinos to ensure all customers are located within state lines and are of legal gambling age.
Why was my credit card deposit declined?
If you’re sure you have enough funds to cover a deposit and the transaction is still declined, you probably ran afoul of policies your bank has in place preventing transactions related to online gambling.
Any problems you have depositing are most likely a result of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA was passed in 2006 in an effort to crack down on offshore gambling sites and it requires all payment processors in the US to make an effort to block transactions to unlicensed gaming sites.
Licensed casinos are exempt from UIGEA regulations, but there is no rule that says banks have to accept gambling transactions. Some banks opted to initiate a blanket ban on anything even resembling gambling in response to the passage of the UIGEA and still have those policies in place today.
Significant progress has been made to improve credit card success rates, but you may still run into problems from time to time. The good news is every casino site in the US has alternative methods you can use if your credit or debit card transaction is declined.
How do casino bonuses work?
One of the classic methods by which online casinos compete with one another for new customers is to offer welcome bonuses to anyone who signs up for an account and makes a deposit. The basic premise is that if you’ll give a casino your business, the casino will give you extra money to use at the tables or slots.
Most casino bonuses are offered as a percentage of your first deposit, typically 100% extra. In this case, a $50 deposit would get you an extra $50, a $200 deposit would get you an extra $200 and so on.
The most important thing to know about casino bonuses is they always come with terms and conditions. Some bonuses are only offered as site credit and cannot be withdrawn while others are given as actual cash that you can withdraw once you’ve met the rollover requirements.
What does “rollover” refer to?
Most casino bonuses come with rollover requirements that must be met before a withdrawal is permitted. For example, a casino may offer a 100% bonus that comes with a 5x rollover. If you were to claim that bonus and get an extra $100, a 5x rollover would mean you need to wager at least $500 before requesting a withdrawal.
It is important to read the terms and conditions of every bonus because each is unique. Some bonuses require you to roll over the bonus amount only while others require you to roll over an amount equal to the bonus + original deposit amount. Likewise, some bonuses require you to meet the rollover before making any withdrawal at all while others only restrict winnings derived from the bonus until the rollover has been met.
What are live dealer games?
Live dealer games combine the best of both worlds by bringing actual, human dealers to your online gaming experience via live streaming video. At live dealer casinos, you place wagers and then watch the results in real time as a trained dealer shuffles the cards and runs the game.
How US Online Gambling Was Legalized
The legalization of online casinos in the United States was more of a process than a singular event. In fact, it is a process that’s ongoing to this day due to individual states possessing the authority to regulate online gambling as they see fit.
The Early Years: Unregulated Internet Casinos
To understand how it all happened, we have to go back. Way back to the mid-90s when the first online casinos hit the internet. State and federal gaming laws in those days had no mechanism to address online gambling because the majority of those laws were written well before the internet was even a thing.
The growth of online gambling through the late 90s and early 2000s resulted in lawyers and judges attempting to apply outdated gaming laws to an entirely new technology. At the federal level, the law relied upon most heavily to deal with online gambling was the Federal Wire Act of 1961.
The key text of the Wire Act that was used to reign in online gambling at that time reads as follows:
Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Strong arguments were put forth that the Wire Act was written to address sports betting specifically, but the Department of Justice at the time interpreted the Wire Act as applying to all forms of online gambling.
You will notice, however, that the Wire Act makes no mention of penalties for people who merely place wagers online; the Wire Act targets the business of gambling, not the act of participating.
This interpretation of the Wire Act set the stage for how online gambling would be treated in the US during those early years. While it was clearly illegal under federal law to operate an online casino in the United States, there was no penalty for playing at one.
With the demand for online gambling unabated in the United States, certain enterprising entrepreneurs figured a way to serve the market, make money in the process and steer clear of legal trouble (for the most part): operate gambling sites from other countries without laws against running such sites and use the magic of the internet to target the US market.
Online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks from all around the world gleefully accepted Americans while operating out of the UK, Costa Rica and other locations. The US government’s official position was that those sites violated US law, but the operators of those sites contended the US had no right to impose its laws in countries where online gambling was perfectly legal.
For a time, major operators took full advantage of the situation to offer all forms of online gambling to US residents. These gambling sites openly advertised their wares on TV, sponsored major poker tournaments and made billions in the process.
The UIGEA Enters the Picture
Things were good for gamblers and operators alike until late 2006 when Congress decided to address the situation once and for all with a new piece of legislation: The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA).
With US authorities and the Department of Justice have been largely unable to punish offshore operators and unwilling to target players for enforcement, Congress took a different approach to dealing with the issue. Rather than targeting operators directly, Congress passed the UIGEA to target the financial institutions used by players and online casinos to transfer money.
In short, the UIGEA requires all financial institutions in the US to make a good-faith effort to identify and block all payments connected to “unlawful Internet gambling. Nearly every payment passes through a financial institution at some point when entering or leaving the US – and those institutions are now mandated by federal law to block those payments.
The UIGEA has fallen far short of complete effectiveness, but it did convince most major operators to stop serving the US market. A handful of offshore casinos still take Americans to this day, but payments are difficult to manage and regulations are completely nonexistent. We’ll come back around to the UIGEA shortly.
The Big Break for Legal Online Gambling
In 2009, officials representing the New York and Illinois lotteries sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting a legal opinion on whether or not their plans to launch online sales of lottery tickets would be a violation of the Federal Wire Act.
The DOJ sat on the decision for two years, but finally issued a memo in 2011 that would have major implications extending far beyond online lotteries in New York and Illinois. In the memo, the DOJ stated that not only were the lotteries’ plans A-OK, but that the DOJ would interpret the Wire Act from now on as applying only to sports betting.
The ramifications of the new opinion were wide-ranging because up until 2011, the Wire Act was the only federal law on the books stopping individual states from legalizing and regulating online casinos, poker sites and practically any other form of gambling except sports betting.
States Take Advantage
It did not take long after the 2011 Wire Act opinion for states to begin taking advantage of the opportunity to legalize online gambling, funnel players onto regulated sites and begin collecting tax money they had been missing out on for so many years.
New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada all moved quickly to draft and implement laws governing online gambling. New Jersey and Delaware legalized online casinos and poker sites while Nevada opted to legalize online poker only.
As for the UIGEA, that law is still in effect to this day. However, the law provides clear exemptions for online racing betting, daily fantasy sports and any other form of gambling that is legal at the state level other than sports betting. This is why the licensed casinos that have opened in New Jersey, Delaware and other states since then are unaffected by the UIGEA.
And that is the story of how online casinos were legalized in the United States.
Gambling Information by State
While federal law establishes some of the basic guidelines regulating gambling in the USA, each state has significant power in shaping the gaming landscape within its borders.
This arrangement allows every state to regulate gambling in a way that makes sense for its population, but it also makes for a confusing situation with no two states regulating gambling the same way. What’s legal in one state may be prohibited in the next state over, minimum gambling ages vary and so on.
Although it is useful to have a general idea of what’s going on at the federal level, the most pertinent information as far as what forms of gambling are legal where you live is always going to be found at the state level. To that end, we will soon publish a state-by-state guide to gambling in the US that you can use to learn all about the casino situation in your neck of the woods.
How Online Gambling Benefits States
States and their residents see three major benefits when online casinos are properly regulated. The state itself benefits from increased tax revenues that can be put to productive causes, each state’s existing casino industry stands to benefit from the increased economic activity and residents benefit by having safe, licensed online casinos to visit.
The biggest and most obvious benefit provided to the state is tax revenue. Any time lawmakers can generate new income for the state without raising taxes on existing industries, they’ll be tempted to do exactly that.
The tax revenues generated from online gambling can range from minimal to substantial depending on numerous factors such as state population, tax rates and the manner in which the state regulates the industry.
For example, New Jersey fosters a competitive and healthy online gaming environment that produces sizable tax revenues every year. Each of the state’s land-based casinos is permitted to run multiple gaming sites that compete with one another. This in turn pushes casino operators to innovate and work that much harder for customers.
Additionally, state regulations allow online casinos to offer most games and a reasonable 15% tax rate allows licensed casinos to remain competitive with illegal, offshore gambling sites.
The New Jersey model has so far proven quite effective at generating tax revenue for the state, with online gaming delivering $40 million+ per year in tax revenue.
Delaware, on the other hand, has proven less effective when it comes to raising tax revenue for the state. Even accounting for the fact that Delaware’s population is barely 10% that of New Jersey’s, the Delaware model has provided lackluster revenue for the state with online casinos failing to hit the original $5 million in annual revenue target.
In Delaware, the state lottery operates all three casinos and has a monopoly over gaming. Each of the three casinos is run by the same software provider and there is no real competition between the three since they are all overseen by the Lottery. Additionally, the state taxes 100% on the first $3.75 million in online revenue and takes 43.5% from online slots and 29.4% from online table games after that.
Delaware’s three online casinos have been averaging roughly $215,000 per month in revenue in recent years, which places them firmly in 100% tax territory. With Delaware’s casinos making exactly nothing from online gaming, they have little incentive to upgrade their platforms or invest much in marketing.
The point here is not to pick on Delaware, but to demonstrate how tax rates and regulations play a critical role in how much online gambling benefits the state. The benefit to the state varies by a wide range as we’ve seen with New Jersey’s online casino market flourishing while Delaware’s continues to underperform expectations.
Supporting the Local Industry
States also boost their local gaming industries with legal online casinos. Contrary to arguments occasionally made by anti-gambling groups, online gambling does not cannibalize land-based revenue.
If anything, online gaming boosts land-based revenue by deepening the relationship between casinos and their customers and by reaching customers who would otherwise find it inconvenient to visit a casino in person.
Even as online gaming tax revenue has increased in recent years in New Jersey, so too has tax revenue from land-based operations. New Jersey serves as a great case-in-point that online casinos can benefit state coffers without cannibalizing land-based casino revenue.
Something gambling opponents tend to forget is that online gambling already happens in states that have not passed legalization measures. Players in states without licensed casino sites still have fairly easy access to offshore casinos that operate with almost zero regulatory oversight. While it is true the UIGEA has disrupted payments, determined players do still find ways to fund their offshore gaming accounts.
Horror stories abound of offshore casinos refusing to honor withdrawals for vague reasons and even occasionally disappearing altogether with players’ funds. In those cases, the customer has absolutely no recourse, no authority to turn to for assistance and little hope of ever recovering those funds.
Responsible gambling measures are also sorely lacking with the offshore industry. This may not seem like such a big deal for some of you reading this right now, but we have to be honest with ourselves. Some small percentage of people are going to need help identifying when they’ve gambled too much and with stopping when it’s time to stop.
To those who oppose online gambling, remember these issues are going to persist whether or not it is legal. Legalizing online casinos may indeed lead to more people playing online, but it will also provide those who need help the most with the resources to get that help. Every state with legal online casinos imposes strict regulations on operators regarding the treatment of players’ funds and dealing with signs of problem gambling.
If done right, legalization and regulation funnels players away from unlicensed offshore gambling sites and onto licensed casinos in the US that operate under the watchful eye of that state’s gaming regulator.
Land-Based Casinos in the USA
The land-based casino industry in the US is way more developed than online gambling, and the numbers show it. According to the American Gaming Association, revenue generated by the commercial casino industry eclipses $40 billion a year, contributes nearly $10 billion a year in taxes and supports nearly 2 million jobs.
What’s noteworthy about those figures is they don’t even include revenue numbers from tribal casinos or state lotteries. When we account for tribal gaming, we can safely double those numbers to even begin to get an accurate look at the total economic impact of casino gaming on the US economy.
Suffice it to say, the US casino industry is doing big business these days.
Currently, casino gambling is legal in 40 states. Of those states, 24 have at least one commercial casino while 28 have at least one tribal casino. In total, there are roughly 460 commercial casinos and 490 tribal casinos in operation across the United States right now.
States with legal brick-and-mortar casinos:
|Missouri||Montana||Nebraska||Nevada||New Hampshire (charitable gaming rooms with table games but no slots)|
|New Jersey||New Mexico||New York||North Carolina||North Dakota|
|South Dakota||Washington||West Virginia||Wisconsin||Wyoming|
States without casinos:
|Alaska||Georgia (except one cruise ship casino out of Brunswick)||Hawaii||Kentucky (racetracks offer historical horse racing machines)||South Carolina (except two cruise ship casinos out of Little River)|
|Tennessee||Texas (state gaming law prohibits casino gambling, but there are two small tribal casinos that are contested by the state)||Utah||Vermont||Virginia|
Major US Casino and Gambling Operators
The gaming companies profiled below are among the biggest in the world and collectively employ hundreds of thousands of people. Some are household names; others are fairly limited in geography, but all are likely to enter the online gaming space if they haven’t already.
Operators Originating from the US
Caesars Entertainment is a goliath gaming operator with 55 properties spanning the globe and some 65,000 employees. In the US, Caesars operates casinos in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
In addition to operating properties under its own name, Caesars Entertainment owns a number of other high-profile brands in the US including Harrah’s, Horseshoe, WSOP and Bally’s among others.
Caesars is also active in the online casino and sports betting markets in the US. It first launched CaesarsCasino.com in New Jersey and made clear its plans to enter other states as legislation permits. Caesars Entertainment is also partnered with DraftKings to offer online gaming and sports betting products in states where Caesars operates.
Boyd Gaming is another major land-based operator with 24 casinos across Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Boyd’s Las Vegas properties tend to be popular among the locals rather than standing as international destinations like the bigger names on the Strip, but this is still a mega operator with billions in annual revenue.
Like the other major US casino operators detailed on this page, Boyd gaming has its eye on the regulated online gaming market. Boyd Gaming has separate partnership agreements in place with FanDuel and MGM Resorts to pursue online gambling and sports betting opportunities in the US.
Churchill Downs Inc.
Churchill Downs is best known for operating the one and only Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky that hosts the annual Kentucky Derby. In addition to running racetracks in Illinois and Louisiana, Churchill Downs also operates casinos in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Churchill Downs Inc also operates BetAmerica.com and TwinSpires.com, which are the two largest horse racing betting sites in the US. More recently, Churchill Downs has launched online sports betting and casino games through BetAmerica.com.
Las Vegas Sands
Las Vegas Sands is the largest casino operator on the planet by revenue with more than 51,000 employees tending to properties in Las Vegas and Macao. Sands has been especially successfully in Macao, which itself is an even larger gambling market than Las Vegas.
Despite earning a personal fortune with his brick-and-mortar gambling business, Sheldon Adelson once promised he would spend “whatever it takes” to stop online gambling in its tracks and even convince Congress to pass legislation that would turn back the wheels on every state that has legalized online gaming to date.
MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts international operates nearly 30 casino and hotel destinations around the world from Springfield, Massachusetts to Shanghai, China. MGM’s US properties include the MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, MGM National Harbor in Maryland, the Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan and the Beau Rivage and Gold Strike resorts in Mississippi.
MGM is also making moves in online gambling, which began with the launch of online casino games and sports betting in New Jersey via PlayMGM.com. There are no doubts MGM Resorts has its eye on expanding across the US after striking deals with the MLB, New York Jets, NHL and others to get the name in front of sports fans around the country.
Wynn Resorts is one of the younger major players in US gambling, but has solidly established itself as the name of luxury with the Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Las Vegas, Encore Boston Harbor and three Macau properties that are all known for sparing no expenses when it comes to the guest experience.
Wynn Resorts has not been as active in online gaming as some of its competitors but has stated it will be moving in that direction. In 2018, Wynn Resorts joined forces with European sports betting operator BetBull “to pursue sports betting opportunities in the emerging US market.” BetBull operates strictly in the online sphere, so it stands to reason the partnership with Wynn Resorts will also extend to the digital realm.
Eldorado Resorts operates more than two dozen casinos across the country, including in states not traditionally known as gambling meccas. Casinos managed by Eldorado can be found in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
On the online side of things, Eldorado Resorts has partnered with William Hill in order to expand both companies’ footprints in the regulated online gaming market. Together, Eldorado Resorts and William Hill will pursue in-person, online and mobile sports betting opportunities wherever permitted by law.
Golden Nugget, Inc.
- Established: 2004
- Publicly traded? No
- Corporate website
Golden Nugget is active in the land-based and online gaming market with no signs of slowing on either front. In the physical realm, Golden Nugget operates casinos in Lake Charles, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi and Laughlin.
On the internet front, Golden Nugget is already established or making moves in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond. Golden Nugget has been particularly successful in New Jersey as the leading online casino by revenue several years running.
Penn National Gaming
Penn National Gaming runs 40 major casinos, racetracks and off-track betting (OTB) facilities across the country in an operation that comprises nearly 50,000 slot machines, 1200 gaming tables and nearly 9,000 hotel rooms.
Many of its properties operate under the Hollywood Casino banner across a wide range of states including Colorado, Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Nevada, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas New Jersey.
Penn National is also highly active in online gaming as one of the only major gaming brands with a social casino site that serves as a prelude to real money gaming. In 2018, Penn National reached an agreement with online gambling company IGT to operate an online casino in Pennsylvania.
Rush Street Gaming
- Established: 2009
- Publicly traded? No
- Corporate website
Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming is a fairly recent entrant into the casino business, but it is growing quickly and already boasts a small portfolio of licensed online casinos in the US and aboard.
In the real world, Rush Street gaming operates casinos in Illinois, Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia in addition to numerous hotels and restaurants.
Rush Street Gaming stands out among other major casino operators with a bigger focus on online gaming than most. Not only does Rush Street operate online casinos and sportsbooks in the US, but it also has an international division targeting other markets. In 2018, for example, Rush Street became the first US-based company to receive an online sports betting license in Colombia.
Hard Rock International
- Established: 1971
- Publicly traded? No
- Corporate website
The iconic Hard Rock International brand adorns a wide array of businesses around the world including restaurants, hotels, live music venues and casinos. On the gaming side of things, Hard Rock operates more than a dozen casinos in North America spanning California to New Jersey.
Hard Rock is actively engaged in online gambling as well, with its first online casino and sportsbook opening in New Jersey. The company’s land-based operations in other states and partnerships with groups such as the Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), the Kindred Group and Bet365 will serve Hard Rock well as it extends its digital footprint in the United States.
- Established: 2012
- Publicly traded? No
- Corporate website
DraftKings launched in 2012 as a fledgling fantasy sports website, but now operates as one of the country’s biggest digital-first gaming companies. DraftKings today is involved in sports betting and online casinos games in addition to running the largest daily fantasy site in the world.
The 2018 Supreme Court decision to overturn the federal sports betting prohibition prompted DraftKings to move beyond its daily fantasy roots and become an actual sportsbook after launching mobile betting and casino games in New Jersey. Moving beyond New Jersey, DraftKings has a partnership in place with Caesars Entertainment to offer online gaming in states where Caesars has a physical presence.
- Established: 2009
- Publicly traded? Yes, through parent company on London Stock Exchange: PPB
- Corporate website
The FanDuel story follows a path similar to that of DraftKings as a business that has expanded beyond its daily fantasy roots into online sports betting and gaming. FanDuel and DraftKings operated as fierce rivals in establishing their brand names among US sports fans, and both are now well-positioned to hit the sports betting market in particular.
International gaming giant Paddy Power Betfair acquired FanDuel in 2018 in a bid to enter the US market through a recognized name brand. The backing of Paddy Power Betfair will give FanDuel all the resources it needs to establish itself in online sports betting and gambling while still remaining a dominant force in fantasy sports.
International Operators That Have Entered the US Market
William Hill Plc is a major operator of betting shops in the UK, sportsbooks in Nevada and international gaming website WilliamHill.com. With a business history dating back to 1934, William Hill has extensive know-how on all sides of the gaming business.
William Hill established a US beachhead in 2011 with an acquisition campaign in Nevada, snapping up sportsbooks across the state to become the largest sports betting operator in the state. William Hill US also manages the Delaware Sports Lottery and has confirmed plans to expand across the US as legislation permits.
Although William Hill is known primarily for sports betting, its international division also operates casino games and online poker. As additional states legalize online gambling, William Hill will not be far behind.
Paddy Power Betfair
- Established: Original companies founded in 1988/1999, merger in 2016
- Publicly traded? Yes, London Stock Exchange: PPB
- Corporate website
Paddy Power Betfair is another international giant comprising hundreds of physical betting along with an online sports betting and casino gambling website that serves customers around the world. Paddy Power was established in 1988 as an Irish sports betting firm while Betfair was founded in 1999 as the world’s first major exchange betting platform. The two merged in 2016 to form one of the largest online gaming operators on the planet.
Paddy Power Betfair made its entrance in the US by acquiring horse racing brand TVG in 2009 and then FanDuel in 2018. With those acquisitions, Paddy Power Betfair can extend its reach in the promising US online gaming market under a name known to millions in the US.
888 Holdings is one of the longest-standing and most successful online gaming companies in business today. Unlike many of the other companies profiled on this page, 888 was formed specifically as an internet-focused gaming company.
888 operates numerous gaming sites today running the full gamut of online poker, casino games, sports betting, bingo and social gaming. Most of its online properties operate under the 888 banner – 888sport, 888casino and so on.
Being an online-first gambling company, it was no surprise to see 888 move quickly after the first states in the US legalized online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks. 888 was among the first batch of gaming operators to establish a presence in multiple states including New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The roots of the Kindred Group date back to its founding as Unibet way back in 1997. Unibet is still alive and doing very well to this day, but the modern business has grown to encompass so much. Kindred Group also operates 32Red, Bingo.com and a variety of other regional gaming brands in addition to flagship website Unibet.com.
The Kindred Group has implemented plans to enter the US market and formed partnerships with the likes of Kambi, SG Digital and Hard Rock International to facilitate a successful entrance.
- Established: 2000
- Publicly traded? No
- Corporate website
Bet365 has operated on the international front since 2000 and maintains a enjoys favorable reputation among customers to this day. The company employs more than 4,300 people today and boasts a customer base in excess of 35 million people from around the world.
Bet365 made its first moves into the regulated US market through deals reached with Empire Resorts in New York and Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City. Although the Bet365 name is not well-known in the US today, this company has the resources and capabilities to quickly become a power player in the US market.