What to Expect From Legal Online Gambling in 2021
With the New Year here, we are beginning to make notes on the immediate future of legal online gambling in the United States. Today, we look at some of the things we are looking forward to in 2021. While we don’t see a bunch of states lining up for casino gambling in 2021 we do see some growth in the sector.
Michigan Online Casino Launch
One state we are watching closely is Michigan. The state legalized online casino gambling, online poker, and sports betting last year but fell short of launch. Provisional licenses have been granted in the state and we are in the home stretch for launch.
That launch will happen sometime in 2021, but the big question is when. We are hoping sometime in Q1 but it may be mid-2021 before we see sites launch. We see at least half of licensees launching at first with all licensees having some form of online gambling by the end of the year.
Additional Online Poker Brands in Pennsylvania
PokerStars has a monopoly on online poker in the Keystone State. We predict this to chance sometime this year. The most likely candidates to enter the market are WSOP.com and partypoker. One of the reasons we haven’t seen WSOP.com yet is because Pennsylvania will not be part of the interstate online poker network anytime soon. We don’t have a good reason behind the lack of launch of partypoker.
PA can realistically only support 2 to 3 online poker brands at the moment, and that’s what we predict we will see this year. When? That’s anyone’s guess.
Will Online Gambling Come to Virginia or Nah?
Virginia has officially legalized casino gambling in four localities. A November vote is bringing live casinos to Danville, Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. The bill also legalizes online casino gambling for the state. The big question now is whether that will happen anytime soon or if we will wait until after casinos launch.
The bill legalizing casinos in Virginia does not put limitations on licensees. As such, online gambling could launch through the Virginia Lottery before live casinos. The VA Lottery is already offering Keno, so we would not be surprised to see the Lottery launch other forms of casino games this year.
A Resolution to the Wire Act Appeal
The Federal Wire Act appeal is awaiting a verdict, and we think that it will happen sometime this year. There’s some concern that the appeal could get held up due to the passing of a judge, but precedent allows for a verdict to still be reached.
The US Presidential election is why the Wire Act appeal has not already been announced. Many feel that the Appeals Court is awaiting the installation of President-elect Joe Biden before announcing a verdict. As such, it may be February or March before a verdict is announced.
However, a verdict may not even be necessary. Biden has gone on record stating that the Wire Act should be interpreted as it was before the most recent revision. As such, a new administration could revert back to the post-Black Friday memo that states the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. Should that happen, a verdict will not be necessary.
Will Connecticut Join the Ranks of Legalized Gambling in 2021?
Finally, we are looking at developments in Connecticut with optimism. The state attempted to legalize online gambling last year, but opposition from the Governor stalled progress. Last month, Governor Ned Lamont communicated that he is now open to online gambling expansion. The COVID-19 pandemic apparently convinced him to change his mind.
Online gambling and sports betting are hotly debated topics in the state with tribal casinos wanting exclusivity in sports betting. However, online gambling is seen as a compromise. There are some other hurdles to clear but we feel that Connecticut is in a good position to become the next state to legalize online casino gambling this year.