Keep Your Eye On These Five Online Gaming Stories In 2018

Steve Ruddock December 14, 2017 3281 Reads
online gaming 2018

2017 is coming to a close, and while it’s nice to look back fondly on the positive online gaming developments made throughout the year, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2018.

In this column, US Poker will gaze into its crystal ball and try to predict what the five biggest stories of 2018 will be.

New York is on the clock

Pennsylvania was the leading candidate to pass online gaming legislation in both 2016 and 2017. The Keystone State got it done this year.

Heading into 2018, New York is the most likely state to pass online gaming legislation (an online poker bill). So now, after watching the multi-year process unfold in Pennsylvania, it’s time to turn our attention to New York.

But New York isn’t the odds-on favorite Pennsylvania was.

Unlike Pennsylvania, there is no overarching budget reason behind the state’s efforts to legalize online poker.

That said, New York does have a few things working in its favor:

  • A new procedural rule instituted last year allows the legislature to carryover bills to the second year of two-year sessions. As such, an online poker bill passed by the Senate last year will begin 2018 right where it left off.
  • The state’s two southern neighbors, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are both online gaming states, and that could help sway a New York lawmaker or two.
  • New York’s new casinos have fallen short of revenue projections, and online poker is a proven driver of foot traffic and incremental revenue.
  • The interstate agreement between Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey (that Pennsylvania is likely to join at some point) makes online poker a more enticing proposition.

For those reasons, New York is 2018’s Pennsylvania… let’s hope the final results are the same.

The launch of online gambling in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will continue to be a closely watched as the state preps to launch online poker and casino games; online lottery; and a myriad of other gaming expansions the legislature approved in 2017.

Online gaming is expected to go live sometime in H2 of 2018 (US Poker’s best guess is that the state is shooting for the beginning of July), and when it does, all eyes will be back on Pennsylvania.

Interstate and international online poker agreements

In October, New Jersey signed an interstate online gaming agreement with Nevada and Delaware that would, among other things, allow the three states to pool online poker players.

As noted above, later in the month, Pennsylvania legalized online gambling, and the speculation that Pennsylvania would follow New Jersey’s lead and join the other states in the interstate agreement began immediately.

In December, the New Jersey legislature got the ball rolling on international agreements when the Assembly passed a bill that would remove the requirement that online gaming servers be located in Atlantic City. That requirement has proved to be a major stumbling block to international compacts; something the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has been trying to broker for quite some time.

The Supreme Court sports betting decision

The Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments for the Christie vs. NCAA sports betting case in early December, but a decision isn’t expected until the Spring of 2018.

That will be one of the most closely watched stories not only in gambling circles but in the sports world.

However the court rules, it will be the biggest gaming story of the year, with the potential to fundamentally change gambling in the United States.

State x that will come out of nowhere and legalize online gaming

Without fail, every year there is a story that no one anticipated.

In 2015, daily fantasy sports exploded and by the end of the year, thanks in large part to a mini-scandal, it was one of the hottest topics of conversation in statehouses across the country.

2016 saw the emergence of Michigan as a serious contender to pass online gaming legislation.

In 2017, the surprise was New Hampshire passing an online lottery bill and exploring online gaming.

Suffice to say, some state will come out of nowhere and make a run at legalizing online gambling.

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