The Northeast U.S. Is Engaged In An All Out Gaming Arms Race

Steve Ruddock January 26, 2018 2604 Reads
Northeast US Gambling

The Northeast region of the U.S. has turned into something of a gambling hotspot, and with so many states packed into such a small geographic area there is a lot of competition.

  • Virtually every Northeast state has casino gambling – only New Hampshire and Vermont lack commercial or tribal casinos.
  • Lotteries are available across the region, with online lottery options available (or soon to be) in several states.
  • Every Northeast state with the exception of Rhode Island has legalized daily fantasy sports.
  • And the Northeast has been the hub of online gaming and sports betting expansion in the US.

This column will provide a summary of the gaming each state currently offers, and what future gaming expansions they’re exploring.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania passed a sweeping gaming reform package in October 2017.

The newly legalized forms of gaming have turned Pennsylvania into one of the most progressive gaming states in the country, and the first to legalize online casino games and online lottery.

Current gaming options in the state of Pennsylvania:

  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery (including online lottery)
  • Online gaming VGTs at authorized truck stops
  • Sports betting (pending a favorable Supreme Court decision)

New Jersey

New Jersey was the second state to legalize casino gambling way back in 1976, and as was the case in the 1970’s with casinos, the Garden State has been at the forefront of more recent gaming expansions.

The state passed an online gambling bill in 2013, and was the third state to offer legal online gaming behind only Nevada and Delaware.

New Jersey is also leading the charge to end the near nationwide prohibition on sports betting.

Current gaming:

  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery
  • Online gaming
  • Sports betting (pending a favorable Supreme Court decision)

New York

New York has quietly become one of the most prodigious gaming states in the country, and the Empire State isn’t finished yet.

Legislation that would legalize online poker is being considered, as is legislation that would allow the state’s racetracks and tribal casinos to offer sports betting, if allowed under federal law – sports betting is already authorized at the state’s new commercial casinos thanks to a prior voter referendum.

Current gaming:

  • Tribal casinos
  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports (the law still requires approval by the state’s two gaming tribes)
  • Lottery (including online subscriptions)

Exploring:

Connecticut

Connecticut was the first state in the region with tribal casinos, but over the years the Constitution State hasn’t been able to keep up with the gaming developments of some of its neighbors.

Now Connecticut is playing catch-up.

Connecticut legalized DFS and sports betting in 2017, and is considering opening up the state to commercial casinos.

Current gaming:

  • Tribal casinos
  • daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery
  • Sports betting (pending a favorable Supreme Court decision)

Exploring:

Massachusetts

It took a long time for Massachusetts to jump on the casino bandwagon (casinos were authorized in 2011), but the state has been a trailblazer when it comes to online gaming.

Massachusetts has been looking into online lottery and online gaming for several years, and recently started looking into sports betting. Massachusetts was also among the first states to craft robust regulations for the DFS industry.

Current gaming:

  • Tribal casinos
  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery

Exploring:

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the nation’s smallest state, but it’s becoming a big player in the gaming world.

Pending legislation could bring sports betting to the Ocean State, and there are whispers of online gaming being on the legislative agenda in 2018.

Current gaming:

  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery

Exploring:

New Hampshire

New Hampshire and Vermont are the two Northeast states without casino gaming (New Hampshire does have charity casinos with strict wagering limits and protocols), and despite another valiant effort this year, the Granite State was unable to push a casino bill across the finish line in 2017.

The state did come out of nowhere to legalize online lottery sales in 2017, but came up short in its pursuit of online gaming.

Current gaming:

  • Charity casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery including online lottery

Exploring:

Maine

A contentious attempt to bring a new casino to southern Maine was resoundingly defeated in a voter referendum last year, but Maine managed to join the growing list of DFS-friendly states in 2017.

Current gaming:

  • Commercial casinos
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery

Exploring:

Vermont

Vermont is the gaming outlier in the region. When it comes to gambling, residents of the Green Mountain State were limited to a state lottery until a DFS bill passed last year.

Current gaming:

  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Lottery
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