The iGaming industry is constantly evolving and adapting to the changing legal and regulatory landscape around the world. Here are some of the recent changes in gaming legislation that have occurred or are expected to occur in various regions and countries.
Cryptocurrency Use Grows in Global Market
According to a recent study by SoftSwiss, an online casino and sports betting software provider, the number of cryptocurrency bets in iGaming grew by more than 66 percent in the first nine months of 2023. However, crypto has not kept pace with the amount of traditional currency wagered in online casinos. Both cryptocurrency and fiat bets grew with the overall iGaming market, which was boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic and increased demand for online entertainment.
Bitcoin (BTC) remains the leading cryptocurrency used in iGaming, accounting for approximately 75% of crypto usage. Meanwhile, Dogecoin (DOGE), a popular "meme coin" represented 3% of the crypto used in online casinos. The value of almost all cryptocurrencies has increased this year. The price of bitcoin has roughly doubled since the beginning of the year.
Some of the benefits of using crypto in iGaming include faster transactions, lower fees, anonymity and security. However, some of the challenges include legal uncertainty, volatility, and lack of regulation.
US Market Expands Despite Legal Hurdles
The US iGaming market has been growing rapidly since the US Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting in 2018. More than 30 states have legalized sports betting, but far fewer states have legalized online casinos. However, that number is also growing as states look for new revenue streams amid the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
To date, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have launched online casinos. Rhode Island passed iGaming legislation in June, and online casinos are expected to go live early next year. Nevada, which has a long history of gaming regulation, only offers online poker.
One of the biggest challenges facing the US iGaming market is the legal battle over Florida's sports betting compact with the Seminole Tribe. The deal, which was approved by the state legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in May, would allow the tribe to offer online sports betting throughout the state in exchange for paying $500 million a year to the state for 30 years. However, the deal was challenged by several parties, including pari-mutuel operators and anti-gambling groups, who argued that it violated federal law and the state constitution.
The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which initially issued a stay blocking the launch of mobile wagering on October 15. However, on October 26, the court lifted the stay and denied review of the case, allowing mobile wagering to resume. The case is still pending before the state Supreme Court, which could rule against the deal and force a renegotiation or referendum.
New York State Senator Pushes for Legalization
New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr, who chairs the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, is hoping that lawmakers will consider legalizing online casinos, also known as iGaming, when they present their budget proposals for the next fiscal year. Addabbo Jr. has been a vocal advocate for legalizing iGaming in New York, arguing that it would generate significant revenue for the state and create jobs.
Addabbo Jr. introduced an iGaming bill this year, but it failed to gain traction. The bill attempted to legalize online casino gaming, including slots, table games and live dealer games, with a 30.5% iGaming tax rate. Most states average between 15% and 18% for their iGaming tax rates.
New York legalized online sports betting earlier this year after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a budget bill that included a provision for mobile sports betting. By early next year, the state is expected to launch online sports betting. However, Addabbo Jr. believes that iGaming would complement sports betting and provide more options for consumers.
The iGaming industry faces various opportunities and challenges in navigating different legal and regulatory frameworks around the world. If you need an expert on possible licensing paths, the BCraft team is here to help! The industry is expected to continue to evolve and innovate in response to consumer demand and market trends.