Sports betting and its close cousin, online gambling, may get quicker regulatory clearance in states with larger fiscal deficits. The financial stability of many states was already shaky just before the pandemic struck, and it was utterly decimated in the months thereafter. Revenues for states are falling as industries close, and millions of people become jobless, while expenditures are rising rapidly. COVID-19 is expected to cause a $615 billion gap in state budgets in the next five fiscal years, according to sources.
It’s unsustainable. There has been some speculation that state legislatures would move to authorize sports betting as a means to increase tax revenue. Over $10 billion was collected in state and municipal gaming taxes from commercial casinos in 2017. This does not include sales or income taxes collected by casino goers. State governments, especially Ohio, have developed a dependency on the tempting tax income from casinos; authorizing sports betting would be the next natural step to squeeze a bit more fruit from the same tree. Sports betting companies may also be set up rapidly, often in less than six months, and provide a large number of new jobs. Even when casinos were closed, sports bettors could still use sportsbook apps and their Ohio sportsbooks promo codes to place wagers on anything from e-sports to table tennis.
There are now 18 states and the District of Columbia that allow sports betting, with four more that have approved regulation but have yet to implement it. The tax rates differ tremendously but are typically around 20% of income, the operator’s cut after rewarding the winners. To put it another way, the five largest markets—Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Indiana—will provide the overwhelming bulk of this year’s meager $1 billion in taxed income from sports betting. Yet, at least $150 billion is bet illegally on sports in the United States every year. If you believe the American Gaming Association, this pile of money could be controlled and taxed.
Many of the states now considering sports betting legislation are likely to approve it. Sports betting may become legal in many states this year, including Maine, Maryland, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and some more. A year ago, California legislators attempted to enact sports betting legislation that could have generated around $700 million in tax revenue, but it was eventually scrapped due to objections from tribal casino owners. Even with this setback, the illegal sports betting market in the US is thought to be worth around $150 billion, and the legal market is expected to be worth $8 billion by 2025 as more and more states make it legal.
Mobile casino games, sometimes known as iGaming, provide a similar kind of entertainment for those who have stayed at home during the lockdown, with real bets and live dealers. Pennsylvania, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are the only states in the United States where iGaming is both legal and actively operating. As of now, it is also allowed in the states of West Virginia and Michigan.
Online gaming has a considerably larger audience in Europe. Stockholm-based Epic Games, the world leader in live dealer casinos, reports that the live casino industry reached $3.5 billion in 2021, up 39% from the preceding year in terms of local currency. Where it is allowed, online gambling is an entertaining way to keep would-be gamblers locked up in their homes for long periods of time. However, the scope of this campaign exceeds that of a mere pandemic drama. Although online gambling is still in its infant stage, it stands to grow exponentially over the coming decades, thanks to factors such as rising broadband internet, extended data capacity, maintaining profitability solutions, and top-notch gaming interactions, as well as relaxing government regulations. Local and state governments will remove restrictions on sports betting and iGaming as they seek to capitalize on this growing industry and its potential tax income. That’s a safe bet.
Government authorities who seek to enforce ethical norms in their towns no longer consistently oppose gambling. Gambling is seen as an acceptable means to promote economic growth in various areas of the nation. Lotteries, horse and dog races, casinos, and other types of gambling and gaming could, in theory, bring in a lot of money that the government could use to pay for important social services.
In the same way that gambling taxes primarily affect the poor, so do many forms of gambling. According to the statistics, riverboats can be found in a lot of low-income areas and are popular among the locals. The widespread use of state lotteries is likewise seen as profoundly regressive. Both proponents and opponents of using gambling as an economic development tool maintain vocal communities. Supporters of allowing people to gamble legally say that it’s just a form of entertainment and that people should have the freedom to spend their earnings in any way they choose. Supporters of gambling point to the money and employment it brings to communities. Local and state governments could use the tax money from gambling that is now legal to pay for important public programs like education.