Why Can't I Find Real Money Online Casino Apps Where I Live?

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As much as sports betting apps have become common in the U.S. and Canada - and in our face via seemingly endless commercials promoting them - one is often left wondering why the same hasn't been the case with online casino games.  After all, there are plenty of browser-based iGaming sites.  One can also upload apps for so-called "social gaming sites", those that offer prizes but insist they are not "real money gambling". 

In the world of internet gambling there are a number of varying niches, most of which come under a different state licensing regime.  The federal government does not license online casinos or sports betting, with one exception.  In that sense the legalization process is similar to that of marijuana legalization and - dare we say it - abortion.  

Gambling regulators in the U.S. are responsible for determining whether credit cards can be used to open an online account as well as which types of bets can be permitted.  Lately there has been a crackdown on the allowance of so-called college player prop bets based on individual performance.  The NCAA has mainly cited player harassment as the mechanism pushing for this type of policy change.

While some states like New York have begun clamping down on bonus language for their sports betting sites, neighboring New Jersey has taken no such approach.  Casino welcome bonuses include such trigger terminology as the "No Deposit Bonus".

For the world of gambling there are different licensing oversights for sports betting, online casinos, horse racing and daily fantasy sports.  Crypto or blockchain gambling sites are yet to be embraced by state regulators while there is currently only one website federally regulated as a Designated Contract Market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which is a fancy way of saying they can offer betting on whether rap mogul P. Diddy is going to prison or not. 


Remarkably, only seven states have thus far legalized online casino games for real money.   These states are New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and, most recently, Rhode Island.

New York, which we mention above, is trying desperately in the waning hours of the legislative period to get online casino legislation passed. As this was going to press, only 11 days remained in the NY 2024 legislative period.

"Upon completion of the board’s preliminary review, the board  shall provide  the  applicant  with written notice of its determination,” according to text from Assemblyman Gary Pretlow's (D-Mount Vernon) bill. “Where the board determines that the application is not sufficient for delivery to the community advisory board, the board must provide  the  applicant, in writing, the reasons for such determination. The applicant shall have twenty-one days from receipt of the written notice to amend their application and resubmit  to  the board in the same manner as the original application. The board shall then have seven days to review the amended application and issue a final determination on sufficiency.”

Looks like a big mess to us.

But a real mess on the i-Gaming front occurred in Indiana to close out 2023.  Indiana was among the first states to authorize mobile sports betting, so one only assumed they would quickly embrace online casino gambling. That won't happen any time soon.

A former state legislator recently agreed to plead guilty to federal corruption charges stemming from the last major gaming bill in 2019.  Former Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for his support of the 2019 sports betting bill that would go on to pass.

Both House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) agreed the fallout from that would rule out any gaming legislation during the 2024 legislative session.

Outside of New York, where many obstacles stand in the way, Maryland looked like the favorite to legalize online casinos next. That state also couldn't quite get over the hurdles standing in the way.

Maine, a state that was slow jumping into the sports betting ring, came even closer.  Legislation passed in the Senate and made it to a floor vote in the House on two occasions. Ultimately i-Gaming legislation failed to pass in 2024.  But if you live in Maine, the odds are certainly good for passage in 2025.


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