Florida – despite its comparatively limited casino scene – is considered one of the largest gambling states in the country.
This is, of course, rated by popularity of the pastime, not volume.
After all, there are only seven real casinos in the state, and only two of those – the Seminole Tribe’s flagship Hard Rock Tampa and Hard Rock Hollywood venues – can be considered bona fide destination resorts.
The bulk of domestic gambling in FL comes by way of charitable gaming among the elderly (bingo, raffles, pull-tabs, etc.), horse racing betting, and the questionably legal pop-up “player banked” card rooms that have caused so much friction with tribal exclusivity over the last several years.
However, a gambler is a gambler, and there is no question that – if gaming in FL were more conveniently available in a domestic capacity – it would generate far more money for the industry, down-market ancillary economies, and the state coffers themselves.
To that end, it is unsurprising that the South Florida Reporter is hustling to answer the questions so many FL residents – and residents of non-gambling states across the country – have when it comes to gambling options during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an article entitled “Which USA States Currently Allow Gambling?,” the alleged news company attempts to give the people of the Sunshine State – and those living in the US in general – an overview of the lay of the land.
The focus, naturally, is on online casino gambling (iGaming) and online sports betting.
Here’s the premise:
“The casino industry saw its worst year on the books ever, with revenues down across the board as venues closed doors amidst the spread of COVID…
Casinos remain closed, as do physical betting locations. Online casinos and bookies now dominate gaming and sports betting. The shift was dramatic and fast, leaving the industry shocked at how seamless the transition was from the physical to the virtual. …
However, just because online gaming and sports betting took off online doesn’t mean it’s legal in your state. Several states in the US still outlaw the practice of online sports betting and gambling.”
Before we dig into the guts of the above series of statements, we’d like to present the South Florida Reporter’s “Mission Statement”:
“Our mission is [to] inform, enlighten, entertain, enrich, empower, inspire, and engage the South Florida community.”
At least they got the Oxford comma right, because literally everything else this two-bit outlet is reporting to its millions-strong community is patently false.
The reality is undisputable: Almost every single person in the US can legally gamble at legitimate online casinos and sports betting sites. They simply have to be 18 years of age or older.
But just for fun, allow us to eviscerate this bit of amateurish, two-seconds-on-Wikipedia fake news.
The first assertion, that the casino industry just realized its worst year ever, is true. We’ll give the “Guest Contributor” who scribed this nonsense that much.
Now to the bit about casinos and physical betting locations remaining closed: That’s almost entirely false.
A new round of wide-sweeping coronavirus lockdowns looming could change things, but as it stands right now, in the United States, 886 commercial and tribal casinos are open for business, while 109 are closed.
In other words, 89% of all US casinos and sports betting venues are up and running right now.
These numbers come from the American Gaming Association’s live COVID-19 tracker, last updated – you know – today.
So, no, casinos do not “remain closed.”
Unless, of course, this “reporter” means that the vast majority of casinos are open for business – and have been since as far back as June – but that a few of the smaller venues in less-traveled areas are still shut down.
Alas, that’s not what he or she meant. Otherwise, that’s what he or she would have said.
Oh, and since this newspaper (or whatever) is based in Florida, allow us to point out that every single tribal gambling venue and commercial gaming center is open for business.
With lie number one out of the way, let’s address lie number two.
Here’s what was said (abject nonsense included in bold for our own amusement because it’s so stupid):
“Online casinos and bookies now dominate gaming and sports betting. The shift was dramatic and fast, leaving the industry shocked at how seamless the transition was from the physical to the virtual.”
Yes, the entire thing had to be emphasized, because that’s just how straight-up wrong it all is.
First of all, “online casinos” do not dominate the US gambling market.
They are available in exactly four states out of the 30 that have legal gambling markets up and running: Delaware, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Nobody is beating down the (virtual) doors to play iGaming titles in DE or WV. Their monthly revenue data – even pre-pandemic – proves that.
That said, NJ and PA have turned larger handles with their iGaming apps during the pandemic, and for the reasons you’d expect.
However, those numbers do no even remotely compare to the action on open casino floors during normal operational conditions. You know, like when people aren’t terrified to leave their homes over a mundane flu bug because the media loves it some eyeballs and ad revenue.
So yes, in NJ and PA, the availability of domestic online casino gaming kept them from losing 90% year-over-year on operations for 2020. They only lost about 40%.
If you think any part of this equation expresses “dominance,” you probably need to consult a dictionary.
On to sports betting!
The claim here is that the online market “now” dominates sports betting, and that this revelation “shocked” the industry. Shocked it! To its very core!
No, no, no.
Since the overturn of PASPA in 2018, more than a third of all US states have legalized sports betting within their borders, and most of them have also allowed these wagers to be placed online.
This is precisely because everyone and their grandma knows that sports wagering has long been primarily an online activity.
Before PASPA was gutted, the AGA estimated that 97% of all US bettors placed their wagers through non-domestic means. That is, they bet with legal offshore mobile betting sites (another point we’ll get to shortly).
To do that, their bets had to be placed over the Internet.
An industry that knows it’s hemorrhaging 97% of its sports betting business to online competitors is not going to be surprised to learn that people prefer to bet on sports online.
Additionally, with all the sports betting that exists overseas in the UK, online wagering on home computers, smartphones, tablets, and even remote betting kiosks on every street corner has long been the gold standard.
The gambling marketplace in America doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Representatives and stakeholders in the marketplace have been pushing for online sports betting since the Internet was a thing because they see exactly how overwhelmingly popular it is.
Heck, even Nevada – which had a 25-year monopoly on sports betting up until 2018 – launched its own online sportsbooks back in 2013.
To summarize for the Guest Contributor at the back of the class:
The gambling industry has been aware that online sports betting far outpaces brick-and-mortar sports betting for years, and they are not shocked that what they’ve known all this time is, in fact, true.
Now for the cherry on top, because that’s how we like our idiocy: with cherries on top.
This thoroughly laughable article drops the hammer (and the ball!) with this bit of I’m-not-a-lawyer-but BS:
“[Just] because online gaming and sports betting took off online doesn’t mean it’s legal in your state. Several states in the US still outlaw the practice of online sports betting and gambling.”
Only two – two! – US states have laws barring individuals from gambling or betting on sports over the Internet. That’s not “several.”
On the contrary, that’s the absolute smallest whole number greater than “only one”!
Those states are Connecticut and Washington.
If you live absolutely anywhere else in the United States – even if you live in Florida, where this “newspaper of record” calls home – you can legally gamble online.
In fact, there are exactly zero federal US gambling laws that prevent anyone in the country from legally and safely playing at overseas online casinos and sportsbooks.
And that means that if you live in FL – or just about any US state barring the pair of aforementioned enclaves – you can sign up and bet real money on literally any gambling market you want, 24/7/365.
Ultimately, you probably shouldn’t be getting your casino scoops from sources that aren’t connected intimately to the industry.
If you do, you’re either going to be misled into thinking that you can’t safely wager online or that you must wait – indefinitely – for your state to get off it’s hindquarters and legalize local betting options.
Neither of those things are necessary.
If you want to legally gamble over the Internet, you already can, and right from the comfort of wherever you happen to be.
None of the most trusted online casinos and sportsbooks are geofenced, and you won’t be stuck paying a premium on all your wagers, either.
When it comes to betting online with legitimate US-friendly casinos, you have an incredible number of options. As long as you pick an established, trusted operator, you can go all in to your heart’s content.
And if you want actual truth when reading about the US gambling industry, throw us a bookmark.
Or at least delete theirs.
Source: South Florida Reporter (LOL)