The Economic Jackpot: The Impact of Legal Online Gambling on U.S. States

U.S. states have been legalizing online gambling left, right, and center. For some, legalizing iGaming is an excellent way to improve the economy. Legal mobile betting is a multi-billion-dollar industry.

At least four states generate over $100 million annually by taxing the sector. Most other states make tens of millions of dollars yearly. Below is an overview of how this money is benefiting the 33 states with legal betting laws.

Hundreds of Millions in Tax Revenue

The biggest reason why US states are legalizing sports betting is to collect more tax income. New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan all generated more than $200M each from taxing sportsbooks.

New Jersey collected $526 million from its local casinos and sportsbooks. New York, which opened its first mobile sportsbook in January 2022, generated $693 million in taxes from the industry.

New York has one of the highest taxes for online gambling companies in the US. It taxes each sportsbook 51% of its gross income. For comparison, New Jersey taxes its mobile sportsbooks 13% of their revenues.

  Although Nevada generates billions of dollars through land-based casinos, the state’s online tax income hovered at roughly $300M. Michigan generated over $400M from iGaming while states like West Virginia and Delaware earned a lot less.

Betting experts believe states will increase their tax income from legal gambling over time. This explains why nearly every state bar Hawaii and Utah has been working hard to legalize the sector.

A Safer Online Gaming Environment

One of the best benefits of legalizing iGaming is that it deals a blow to the black market. You see, Americans used to spend billions of dollars on offshore casinos and sportsbooks before 2018.

This is money now being spent at safe local online casinos in NJ, MI, DE, NV, and PA. States aren’t the only beneficiaries of legal iGaming, though. Casino players feel more confident in US online casinos.

Safe betting sites protect your data and money. They also provide quality services. Picture this. You’re looking for a casino to help you play slots, poker, and blackjack.  

Wouldn’t you feel more confident in a casino licensed in your state? This explains the sporadic growth of US-based casinos and sportsbooks. Unfortunately, not every state permits mobile casinos.

Most sports allow online sports betting. Arizona is an excellent example. The Grand Canyon State has more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks. Yet, if you want to play slots at a safe online casino Arizona, you might have to settle for an offshore site.

To be clear, offshore casinos aren’t illegal in Arizona. In fact, they’re permitted in most states. However, it doesn’t hurt to do research to ensure you find a safe and reliable site. 

Look out for security features, games, bonuses, payment methods, and mobile support. If you’re like many Americans, there’s a strong chance you’ll be using your smartphone for gaming.

Tens of Thousands of Jobs

We’ll admit. Online gambling isn’t the largest employer in the US. Most mobile sportsbooks and casinos only require a handful of employees to operate. Still, these businesses are creating employment for Americans.

Legal online sportsbooks and casinos employ more than 3,000 people in New Jersey alone. In Pennsylvania, iGaming has added 2000 jobs since it launched in 2017.

Countrywide, online casinos and sportsbooks employ over 50,000 Americans directly. We’re talking about accountants, software engineers, marketers, dealers, bookmakers, IT security experts, and consultants.

When you consider jobs created by iGaming indirectly, the industry’s employment rate in the US is tremendous. Think about software providers, digital banking companies, website designers, and content creators

All these sectors have created more jobs for Americans thanks to the legalization of online gambling. The best part is that iGaming-related businesses are some of the best employers in the world. From high salaries to working remotely, working for a mobile casino or sportsbook can be incredibly convenient. 

Enhanced Growth for Local Sports

Many states, sports leagues, celebrities, and politicians have been supporting legal online gaming because it benefits local sports. Think about it. Not everyone watches sports regularly.

But if they have a football bet on Colorado vs. Oregon, they’re more likely to watch this sport. Some recent studies show that up to 20% of people watching sports in 2023 do it because they’re betting fans.

The most interesting bit is that sports gamblers tend to watch entire matches. They do not abandon games because of a half-time blowout. They tend to stick it out hoping their preferred team will win.

Besides increasing fan engagement, legalizing online gambling means more money for leagues and franchises. Take the NFL as an example. It signed a $1 billion deal with three of the country’s biggest sportsbooks in 2021.

Both the NBA and the MLB have similar deals with leading bookmakers. Money from sportsbooks can help teams invest in better coaching and infrastructure. They can also afford better players or market their brands to more audiences.

Improved Funding for Important Causes

In most states, money revenue collected from sportsbooks and casinos is budgeted for important projects. Some states spend their gambling tax dollars on the education system. Others use the money to create better infrastructure.

Part of the money collected from sportsbooks also goes towards problem gambling causes. For example, they might fund not-for-profit organizations that educate gamblers on how to prevent addiction.

Some authorities require online casinos and sportsbooks to give back to society in some way. They might be asked to fund problem gambling causes. They can sponsor local sports or donate money to local hospitals and schools.

Considering most states ran out of money after the pandemic, legalizing online gambling has been a boon for them. It opened up a new way to generate funds for important projects without spending any capital in the process.

Fortunately, Americans embraced iGaming from the start. Millions of people have opened online betting accounts in the past couple of years. Most Americans bet on sports and play slots for the fun of it. However, a few lucky ones have also won windfalls.