What Nigeria can learn from the US gambling liberalization
As estimated in 2020, the USA online gambling market was worth over US$1.9 billion and according to the latest projections, it will grow at a rate of 17%. The United States online gambling market is one the youngest since online gambling activities in the country were illegal for many years. The UIGEA or the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act from 2006 made it illegal for iGaming companies and businesses to accept wagers made by US residents.
In addition to the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act, sports betting activities in the country were outlawed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that has been in force since 1992. Everything changed on the 14th of May 2018 when the US Supreme Court declared this law in particular unconstitutional. Two years later, various forms of online gaming activities are legal in the country.
More specifically, forty-eight states allow some or all forms of gambling activities if we include state lotteries. Two states in which no online gambling activities are allowed are Utah and Hawaii.
New Jersey is home to the most profitable online gambling market in the United States. In New Jersey, numerous licensed and fully legal iGaming operators offer their services and products including online casinos, sports betting sites, and online poker rooms. As estimated recently, this iGaming market generates over US$225 million yearly. Back in May 2020, the state of Colorado legalized iGaming activities. In the state of Michigan, online poker, online sports betting, and online casino gaming activities are legal as of late 2019.
Pennsylvania was the fourth state to legalize gambling activities both online and retail. Mobile iGaming activities are legal in the state of West Virginia while the very first iGaming operators started offering their services in the state of Indiana in September of 2019. One year ago, the very first iGaming operator opened its doors in Illinois.
Other US states with thriving online gambling industries are Tennessee, Iowa, Virginia, Maryland, and Arizona. You can learn more about this and more at AmericaGambles. Now, we examine what Nigeria that also has a thriving gambling industry can learn from the nationwide US gambling liberalization.
The Benefits of Legalized Gambling and the US Gambling Liberalization
The most important, the most significant benefit that an iGaming or any other gambling establishment can contribute to a country’s economy comes in the form of a gaming tax. In the United States, all gambling winnings regardless of their source are taxable. The IRS or the Internal Revenue Service has its ways of making sure that winning taxes are collected. In the United States, winnings from horse races, game shows, lotteries, and betting are also fully taxable.
While some were against introducing licensed, regulated iGaming venues, the truth is that the USA economy can only blossom as more and more iGaming operators open their virtual doors in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and other states where these activities are legal. The US gambling liberalization does not only positively affect the country’s economy but also other industries and this is another lesson that Nigeria can learn from the United States and its current iGaming laws and regulations.
While you may think that the economic benefits of online gambling activities may cause economic harm to companies and businesses operating in other industries, the truth is that legalized gambling can help companies in other industries. More specifically, the US gambling liberalization made and still makes money for many other industries such as e-commerce and companies providing payment services.
The US gambling liberalization also benefits communities in general and the benefits go beyond increased tax revenues for local and state environments. Thanks to more lenient iGaming laws and regulations, more international companies have emerged on the US gambling scene. This leads to increased employment. In other words, online casinos and other gambling establishments increase and improve employment in local communities.
The US gambling liberalization also boosted retail sales and this is something that Nigeria could also benefit from in addition to improved employment, as poor regulation is currently undermining the industry’s performance. Land-based gambling establishments attract international visitors so more liberal gambling laws and regulations regarding the land-based gambling industry could improve countries’ retail sales and boost their tourism. This is what happened in many US states after their legalized retail sports betting and land-based casino gaming activities. These are all the important lessons that Nigeria and other countries with or without legalized iGaming and land-based gaming markets can learn from the United States.