Gambling in America: Gains and Fails of the Industry in 2024

by David Patterson
18 Sep 2023

Being seasoned in computer science and having surfed the entire software development stack, David has something to say about how it all works. He’s also well aware of the gambling industry's best practices for turning client-customer concepts into workable models. Additionally, David's zest for cryptos makes him precisely that guy whose comprehensive expertise can save you from unnecessary (and costly!) mistakes.

Playing cards (all aces)
Gambling industry in the US

Every country’s gambling industry has peculiarities, and America is no exception. Like everything else, it has advantages that can be useful for gamblers and disadvantages that may repel you. 

Get ready to expand your gambling horizons!

Historical Perspective✒️

An old history textbook and a pocket watch lie on the table
The History of Gambling

According to The History of Gambling by Heather Vacek, the American casino industry had no particular restrictions until around 2008. Heather Vacek wrote: “Gambling is America’s favorite pastime, at least when our activities are measured by revenue,” indicating that the state’s economy did not suffer. The question was only about the morality of the passion for casino games, and only 28% of Americans believe that casino games should not be so accessible. 

If the Americans of that time were wondering, “Is gambling good for the economy?” the answer was always yes. For example, in 2008, gambling in the United States grossed $92.27 billion, which only played into the hands of the country’s economic situation! 

Despite this, gambling is subject to many legal restrictions in the United States. The true reason is an attempt to prevent the development of shadow business, the growth of bribery, and the level of crime. It is not a bad move, but unfortunately, it has consequences for gamblers.

The government is gradually and slowly untying the hands of gamblers by giving them more opportunities, but only in a few states selectively. The trend toward legalizing and regulating online gambling has continued to grow, with more states considering similar measures. Smooth easing of restrictions allows players to enjoy gambling in 2024 freely. 

Regulatory Landscape⚖️

United States judge passes law
Perhaps it was a law that gave more freedom to American gamblers?

As I said earlier, the United States has begun giving its gamblers more freedom. That is demonstrated in some laws passed that give gamblers more freedom. I would also like to note that online casinos began to fully develop and attract the attention of European online users as early as 2000. However, online casino players in the United States could only feel free from the restrictions in 2021. 

Previously, only a few states could say that their players could play online casinos freely, but their number was scanty. 2021 has become somewhat of a watershed year as more states consider and enact laws allowing citizens to play online casino games this year. As horrific as it may sound, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic helped pass such laws, as isolated players could not leave their homes and enjoy gambling. That has become one of the best ways to generate income during quarantine (as we see, it is not so much for the player but for the state). 

States that have expanded their online casino offerings are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan. They have certain gambling industry advantages that are not yet available in other states (although I hope it is only a matter of time).

Sports betting was legalized a little earlier, namely in 2018. In the United States, in principle, they did not have such strict restrictions as, for example, online casino games. The US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), allowing some to legalize and regulate sports betting.

In general, it is difficult to track the regulatory changes in the casino gaming industry in the United States of America since all laws are different from state to state. In some states, gambling is quite a common entertainment that any citizen can get involved in, while in others, strict prohibitions are imposed on such fun. 

2024 Industry Overview

A land-based casino in America
The development of the gambling market in the US brings different, sometimes contrasting effects 

I would like to note that the casino industry has always been able to bring good income to the country in which it is present. Since licensed platforms are subject to very high taxes, the state always receives certain benefits. 

At the beginning of 2024, a lot of analysts said that the casino gaming industry in the US would grow significantly, and they were right. The above laws were adopted for a reason, and they positively affected the online segment. The US online gambling market will grow from $4.39 billion in 2024, which is just the beginning as it will continue to grow.

Market size began to grow along with income trends as soon as online gambling easing measures were taken. It was in 2021 that active growth began. And even now, analysts have concluded that with such a pace, the casino gaming industry will bring at least 9.42 billion US dollars by 2028. Initially, the development of the gambling industry was considered a way to boost the economy after the pandemic, but it continues to be beneficial and is unlikely to be abandoned. 

As a rule, everyone assumes that the interested parties are professional and amateur gamblers who want to have a good time, get a big win, or both. If only it were that easy! Sure, they are actually interested in the development of the gambling market, but the desire of gamblers in this case (unfortunately) is not enough. The main stakeholders in the rise of the US casino industry are the federal and state governments, casino companies, gambling operators, and responsible gambling organizations. In short, these are those interested in developing their gambling business or the state’s financial growth. 

I believe online gambling and sports betting are the most popular today, attracting more players. I see how more and more opportunities are being provided to players in this area, which truly indicates progress in online betting. Accordingly, the main number of gamblers is on online platforms and mobile apps, and they make companies’ income.

Successes in the Gambling Industry

American gamblers enjoy gambling
Various achievements in the sector bring serious benefits 

The casino gaming industry is promoted in the US, but it is not as free as, for example, in European countries. Nevertheless, it still has certain achievements that have positively impacted development and paved the way for great achievements in the future. Even though the American casino market has its own legalized gambling pros and cons, let’s focus on its achievements first.

Online casinos and betting platforms dominate the gambling market today. That became possible after this type of entertainment was no longer subject to strict bans in many states. It is not surprising that this quickly gained popularity among the players since the ability to play right on your computer or laptop saves the players time, and they get no less pleasure. Convenience, accessibility, and various games offered have done their job and now bring income to players, companies, and the state.

We have already discussed the economic contribution, which is quite large, and I think we all got the answer to the question, “Are casinos good for the economy?”. However, this is also one of the main achievements of the US gambling industry. Is this particular achievement so important? Yes, because this is one of the main reasons why the opportunities for gamblers in the United States continue to grow, and more states provide more offers. Many gamblers in this country could diversify their gambling experience thanks to this achievement in the first place. 

That encourages the government to continue legalizing various gambling activities. Accordingly, it has also become one of the main reasons for the emergence of more jobs in gambling (for example, live dealers on online platforms have become much more in demand).

Challenges and Failures in 2024

Sad gambler
Not everything is about the positive effects…

The casino industry continues to develop, and there are both ups and downs along the way. This year, I would say that the United States mostly did not have unique problems not found in other countries. I would even go so far as to call them commonplace, as they are found worldwide where gambling is legal.

The only unique difficulty that is rare is the inconsistency of the rules in various states. It has become a difficulty that hinders the development of the casino industry in this country. If one state promotes expanding opportunities for the gambling market, the other adheres to conservative views and prefers to ban any gambling entertainment. 

Moreover, the gambling industry faces legal challenges and disputes over taxation, making it difficult for companies and platforms to exist here. Taxes are high, and many new projects simply cease to exist without having time to develop properly. There are also many disputes over licensing and consumer protection, which negatively affects the reputation and profitability of the industry. The gambling market here will continue to develop, but I assume this problem will not be solved for a long time. 

Since some states allow online casino games quite quickly (and quite late), it is difficult for local new platforms to fight competition. That naturally led to lower margins and higher costs for gambling operators. The casino gaming industry faces pressure from domestic and international competitors and alternative forms of entertainment. They are often overshadowed by forms of entertainment such as streaming services, video games, and social media, as many are unwilling to try “something new”.

And, of course, we cannot overlook the risk of gambling addiction. In the US, it increases in direct proportion to the growth in the popularity of gambling. Variety Intelligence calculations show that in 2024:

  • 56% of gamblers said that betting is entertaining
  • 42% believe that it makes games more fun
  • 12% admitted that they have problems with gambling

The situation is not critical, but we should not disregard this. The relevant states and the US government are taking action and doing a great job of it, but the bad influence of gambling is still present (unfortunately, it will not go away fully).

Social and Economic Impacts 2024

The effects of casinos had a great impact, both economic and social. That is especially true for the online casino industry, as this is an innovation in the United States. Well, let’s understand what pros and cons on an economic and social scale we have.

First, I would like to raise the topic of employment and economic benefits from the casino of the gambling industry. According to all the presented statistics, it is positive! For example, according to the American Gaming Association, the total economic impact of the gaming industry is 

$261.4 billion
1.8 million jobs
$74.0 billion in labor income. 

These impressive results make it clear why analysts see 2028 as a successful year for the American gambling market. Also, offline casinos continue their active work and, thus, contribute to the tourism and hospitality sector, generating income for local businesses and communities.

The US gambling market will bring positive effects of casinos on communities later this year by generating gambling tax revenues for state and local governments. Thus, money appears to finance public services and programs, which will be noticed at the end of the year. Already, there is data from the American Gaming Association that the gaming industry will be able to receive more tax revenue from games than in any previous year! I think when statistics on this are created, a decision will be made to expand the gambling market even more. 

Unfortunately, there are also negative effects of gambling on communities. If we talk about responsible gambling, everything is not as smooth as we would like. The main problem is that many gamblers who have experienced harm from gambling apply the framework of personal responsibility and the message of “gamble responsibly” differently. It depends on the personal and social context. For this reason, there is a need for more stringent and responsible gambling controls at both the federal and state levels. This situation is at the level of searching for the right solution, but I still do not know when it will be found.

Industry Innovations

If this industry has already begun to develop in the US, it will continue progressing! Since 2021, there has been a real leap that will allow companies and leading minds in the casino industry to offer more and more interesting opportunities. I am happy to introduce you to some innovative perspectives and projects that contribute to the positive effects of casinos. 

  • New games and betting options. The online gambling industry is growing exponentially due to the emergence of new technologies, which makes the game more interesting. A particularly unique innovation in the US gambling market was the emergence of hybrid games, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). That allows gamblers to have an exciting and completely new interactive experience.
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Examples include environmentally friendly practices such as reducing carbon dioxide emissions, waste generation, and energy consumption. That minimizes the impact of the gambling industry on the environment. Renewable energy sources and recycling of materials are often used for this.
  • Responsible gambling technologies. Despite the difficulties, it must be admitted that the United States is good at this. They use exclusion tools, limit-setting features, and personalized feedback to help prevent and fix problematic gaming behavior. Nothing particularly unique, but precautions were taken wisely. The lack of uniqueness may be only a matter of time, as the Bournemouth University research team is already working on several projects to use these technologies effectively.

Final Words

This industry has often benefited a country that wants to improve its economic situation. Luckily, this also positively affected the economies of the United States because the incomes increased significantly. 

However, when we solve one problem, a new one appears. Problems of competition in the world market and even in the US market will create difficulties for a long time. We can only hope that a solution will be found in the future. And, of course, as in any country with legalized gambling, some players suffer from gambling addiction. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be eradicated, but it can be minimized, and this is exactly what America is working on. 

Also, based on enthusiasm, local companies continue introducing innovative gambling solutions to give players a gambling experience. I am sure they will still be able to surprise us in the future pleasantly. 

I consider the American casino gaming industry successful enough, given the late adoption of the laws above, but I will not impose this on you. Each player must decide whether gambling is good or bad from their experience. I hope this information was useful to you and you learned something new. Good luck in the gambling world! 

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What ORDB focuses on during trying, testing, and trialing a casino for review.

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