It’s great to learn that Ohio is finally seeing the light where gambling is concerned, albeit in baby steps. As of 1st January 2023, fans of sports betting in the Buckeye State will legally be able to place sports bets on single outcome events at land-based outlets.
Online sportsbooks are still a no-go area and online casino play is still in the realms of science fiction, but given sufficient time, that may well change.
Since PASPA was overturned back in 2018, many US states have also opted to legalize online sports betting, with each state deciding what types of gambling are permitted and developing its own licensing system.
An interesting point here is that many of these licensed online sportsbook operators also have online casinos, but far fewer states seem willing to allow casino players the same freedom as sports bettors.
The most likely reason is that existing land-based casinos are providing a lucrative tax income already and the authorities fear that allowing online play will diminish that. However, that does nothing to ease the frustration of players who are not in a position to enjoy them.
There is, however, an alternative option. By using an innovative business model, operators have found a way to offer legal casino play to residents of every state in the US, except for Washington. Hail the arrival of social casinos, a whole new sector which is expanding rapidly.
By giving players the opportunity to play slots games, casino table games and even poker using only virtual currency, those activities are not considered as gambling in this context and are therefore not subjected to the same strict laws as their real money cousins.
You might think that playing games for virtual tokens would have little appeal, no matter how good the experience. But there’s actually another twist to this tale. As well as engaging on a purely social level, members of social casinos are also able to enter sweepstakes contests.
There is no difference whatsoever in play and prizes are paid out in a virtual currency commonly known as Sweeps Coins. But crucially, when playing in this mode, Sweeps Coins have a monetary value of $1 per coin and can be exchanged for cash.
The rapid changes we have witnessed over the last four years are highly likely to continue as time goes on. There are most certainly some US states that are never going to relent and others that are avidly embracing online sports betting, but refuse to permit online casino play.
In either case, for residents of US states that are likely to remain in online casino play blackout for the foreseeable future, there is always an alluring social light shining brightly at the end of the tunnel.
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Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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