Tackling affordability: Gambling and the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis could exacerbate gambling harm if the industry does not take action to ensure safeguards are in place for players. Ultimately this may require a new mindset when it comes to measures such as affordability checks.

In April, inflation in the UK reached its highest level in 40 years, adding to the cost of living crisis which has seen costs spiral for food, shelter and basic amenities.

One of the most worrying conversations has centred on the vulnerable – those with less disposable income – who are set to feel the effects of the crisis the most.

For vulnerable groups susceptible to gambling harm, the cost of living crisis could be catastrophic.

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Charles Cohen, chief executive of affordability solutions provider Department of Trust (DoTrust), outlines how these factors can coalesce into a perfect storm for at-risk or problem gamblers.

“The real danger with the cost of living crisis is the speed with which it has happened and the uncertainty it has created in a short period of time,” Cohen explains. “What that means essentially is that nobody can plan their finances with the same degree of confidence that we used to be able to because when prices are stable, you know how much a loaf of bread or a trip to the pub is going to cost you probably the week or month before you go.”

This uncertainty has the potential to be devastating. Cohen highlights how the unpredictability caused by the crisis could be crippling for those already struggling to quantify their gambling spend.

“The problem with inflation – when it’s unpredictable – is if you don’t even know what your gas or electricity bill is going to be, how can you possibly plan anything?”

“[The cost of living crisis] leaves everyone in a state of confusion and uncertainty, and it’s particularly problematic for people who already have less ability, less consciousness, and less awareness of where their gambling spend fits into their overall financial life.”

In April, the month inflation hit 9%, GambleAware released six new principles (see above) it said would show the gambling sector doing its bit to mitigate the crisis where possible.

These included a call for a mandatory 1% levy on gross gambling yield (GGY) as a licence condition, targeted support for gambling harm prevention and treatment, and providing aid by reducing inequalities for Britain’s most at-risk communities.

These were published primarily in response to the cost of living crisis, but many of the measures could have been published at any time.

“GambleAware has been calling for the introduction of a mandatory levy for many years and now with the soaring cost of living, deepening regional inequalities, and continuing impacts of the pandemic, urgent action is required and our six principles set out how we intend to tackle these issues,” the charity told iGB.

GambleAware’s six principles for alleviating the cost of living crisis

  • Supporting those most at risk by reducing inequalities
  • Mandatory 1% levy as a licence condition
  • Recognising prevention and support to reach all communities
  • Targeted, innovation-driven support
  • A coalition of expertise
  • Investors must push for change

A closed fist

Many would argue responsibility for alleviating the crisis lies with the UK government. In May, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £15bn government support package, which will include a one-off payment of £650 to more than eight million low-income households that receive universal credit and a £400 discount on energy bills in October.

Industry-specific measures, amid a review of the 2005 Gambling Act, are nowhere to be found. But GambleAware insists the government needs to recognise the impact of the crisis will be on those suffering gambling harms.

“The government must take the necessary and responsible steps in response to rising financial and economic hardship across the country by ensuring sufficient funds and resources are put towards addressing and preventing gambling harm,” says the charity.

GambleAware’s plea for a mandatory 1% levy on GGY would bolster funding for gambling harm treatment resulting from the fallout of the crisis.

“GambleAware has been consistent in our call for the introduction of a mandatory levy on gross gambling yield to provide the much-needed stability and independence of funding to ensure those most at risk of experiencing gambling harm are able to access the help and support they need,” it says.

Cohen believes that more direct communication between the government and regulators is the way to go, especially in the realm of affordability.

The discussion of affordability checks has become an increasingly fraught issue; industry standards body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has repeatedly warned that blanket checks will only harm efforts to protect players .

It has commissioned polling by YouGov, which found 58% of punters would not be willing to allow licensed betting and gaming operators to carry out what the BGC called “arbitrary blanket checks”.

In a second warning against affordability checks, that coincided with the Grand National, CEO Michael Dugher claimed 95% of punters would not share bank details in order to bet.

But Cohen argues that if there is a clearly defined plan set out by the government and the Gambling Commission, affordability checks can be an effective tool.

“Other than dealing with inflation itself, from the perspective of the gambling industry there’s really only one thing the government needs to do, and that’s to clarify the requirements and the expectations that the regulator has around affordability checks from gambling operators,” he explains.

“The worst thing the government could do right now would be to relax on this – have a free-for-all of people doing random credit checks and looking at marketing databases of post-Covid levels. That would be absolutely insane.”

For operators, the cost of living crisis presents a tricky balance, at a time when the industry’s future is the subject of furious debate. GambleAware regards safer gambling information as the best route to tackle gambling harm, especially that which results from the crisis.

“The gambling industry must ensure messages promoting safer gambling are frequently displayed and shared with their customers online and in venues,” it explains. “The industry has a social responsibility to view gambling as a public health issue, as other harm-causing sectors do, which includes prevention as well as treatment.”

Cohen highlights how operators could identify gambling harm during the crisis and beyond, some of which engages recent technology. It’s a package of measures rather than one solution.

“There’s no silver bullet for this,” he says. “On one end of the spectrum you have companies that do analysis of wagering patterns and can spot the outliers – people that might have a gambling problem – and you can automate that process which can be very effective at highlighting people who you wouldn’t otherwise spot.”

Of all the new technologies on offer, he sees open banking as the soundest method of gambling harm identification, as opposed to standard methods such as credit checks.

“There are open banking-based solutions, and ultimately open banking is the answer to this,” Cohen continues. “It’s the only way you can safely, conveniently and cost-effectively access the real data which is going on in people’s bank accounts.”

“[I’ve] spoken to lots of operators who have used it and everyone agrees that it’s better than bank statements and if we can find a way for people to share data I think it will make an enormous difference. That for me is the direction for travel in the industry.”

On the lookout

As Cohen says, there is no silver bullet to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis. But there are steps the industry can take. And the starting point, both GambleAware and Cohen agree, is education.

GambleAware has seen success with its harm prevention efforts, which have been rolled out across the UK. Its Gambling Harm Education Hubs, where children learn about the risks of gambling, recently expanded from Scotland to across England and Wales. Optimistically, 84% of young people who engaged with the Scottish Education Hubs reported feeling aware of the consequences of gambling harms.

“During times of financial hardship, it is important that gambling is not viewed as a means to make money, and so education and awareness raising is an integral tool in preventing gambling-related harms,” says GambleAware.

“We facilitate locally led prevention services, tailored to local need and effectively reaching communities to deliver important prevention messaging, aiming to help stop gambling-related harm before it begins.”

Similarly, Cohen supports financial literacy as a key early-stage method for harm prevention.

“For all of us, the one thing we all need are financial health tools,” he says. “There’s a lot out on the market already.

“There’s a longer-term story about teaching financial literacy, helping people manage their budgets and things, but in the short term, the number-one thing is awareness and information.”

The cost of living crisis has the potential to exacerbate gambling harms at a time when the industry’s future is on the line and its reputation is taking a battering. However, there are steps that can be taken; these may not help sway public opinion in the near term, but they may offer players a crucial safety net when they need it most.

Looking for a place to play roulette, poker, blackjack, or want to place a bet at a sportsbook using Ethereum? This is the article that will tell you exactly where to get the best Ethereum gambling experience. There are a lot more advantages offered by Ethereum gambling sites over traditional casinos and sportsbooks!

One of such is the financial privacy that cryptocurrency payment offers. You can easily hide your gambling escapades from your spouse, bank, and credit agencies. Asides from having to pay lower fees on Ethereum casinos and gambling sites, you get to gamble from anywhere in the world anonymously.


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Other than that, crypto casinos offer quick deposits and withdrawals. So where can you get the best Ethereum gambling experience? These are the seven best online casinos that accept Ethereum.

Top Ethereum Casinos and Gambling Sites

  • BitStarz – Best Ethereum Online Casino Overall;
  • 7Bit Casino – Best Ethereum Gambling Site Runner-Up;
  • mBit Casino – Best Deposit Bonuses;
  • Bovada – Best for Betting and Live Dealer Games;
  • Katsubet – Best for Fast Crypto Payouts;
  • TrustDice – Best for Live Casino Games;
  • CloudBet – Best for Sports Betting.

#1. BitStarz – Best Ethereum Online Casino Overall

This is the best overall Ethereum casino with a fascinating user interface. The website design gives a feel of a real casino and it offers easy navigation with its simple architecture. BitStarz is a top online crypto casino with over 4,000 gambling games and offers available to users. There are mouthwatering bonuses for both new and existing users. The bonuses include: a 100% first deposit bonus, 180 free spins, VIP bonuses, Free spins as No deposit bonus, and more.

BitStarz casino features great loyalty programs where users earn points to access exclusive treats. There is a weekly tournament that offers a chance to players to win big even with free spins. There are exactly 4016 games available on the BitStarz casino for players to enjoy. These games must be probably fair. The average cashout time is less than 10 minutes, making it a rewarding casino experience. There is an option to enjoy a live casino experience.

There is a trained slot hamster that can pick the best game for any player. This ensures there is no need for confusion despite the high number of available games. Deposits can be made in Ethereum, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Tether but there is no place for fiat currency.

The BitStarz casino is licensed by the Curacao gaming authority. It is operated by Dama N.V which is registered in Curacao. The company has a subsidiary Friolion company which is registered in Cyprus. You can count on efficient and all-day customer service. The FAQ page is detailed and you can use live chat support or through email.


  • Features a total of 4016 games
  • Live Casino option
  • Provably fair ETH casino games
  • Deposits can be made in Ethereum, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and Tether.
  • Weekly tournaments in both slot and table games
  • Effective 24 hours customer support via live chat


#2. 7Bit Casino – Best Ethereum Gambling Site Runner-Up

7Bit Casino proudly resides on the second place among the top Ethereum casino sites for a good reason. This Ethereum casino has welcome bonuses and different levels of bonuses. Every new user gets 100 free spins and a 100% bonus. There is a daily cashback bonus of 15% with the exception of Mondays. The 7Bit Casino interface is simple and attractive with over 1,000 games.

The major focus of the games on 7Bit Casino is slot games. There are table games as well like Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, and others. The reward system is exciting as more bonuses come as you unlock new levels. There is a VIP program that offers exclusive bonuses, cashback, and free spins.

With a verified account on 7Bit Casino, you can make withdrawals almost immediately. Deposits can be made in common cryptocurrencies and fiat for some regions. There is no charge on the deposits you make on the platform. The customer service offers a live chat and email that is available for 24 hours.

The 7Bit Casino is a fully legal company with a gambling license in Curacao. This casino is run by the parent company Dama N.V. The 7Bit Casino is optimized to run smoothly on mobile devices of any OS. The games are also available on mobile devices. The weekly race tournament offers up to $1750 to be won with 1000 free spins. New players can also take part in the welcome race for a chance to win up to $500.


  • Over 1,000 casino games
  • Best Ethereum casino bonuses for both new and existing users
  • No deposit bonuses up to 50 free spins
  • Features casino racing
  • 100% welcome bonus with 100 free spins


  • There is no support for calling customer care lines
  • Restrictions on the live casino features in many countries
  • Deposit restrictions in some countries

#3. mBit Casino – Best Deposit Bonuses

mBit Casino is a top Ethereum casino for seamless cryptocurrency gambling. The online casino is operated by Direx N.V which is known to operate several other online casinos. It is a licensed gambling company in Curacao. This Ethereum casino has been in operation since 2014, making it quite versatile and diverse. The casino allows the use of a number of cryptocurrencies and a good number of games are available to players.

When it comes to game choices, there are about 2600 slot games on mBit Casino. The games include 116 video poker, with different Blackjack variants. The roulette on mBit has hundreds of options, all with amazing price pools. The game offerings are quite voluminous making way for maximum enjoyment and loads of fun. Live casino option is not left out, there are 53 gaming options for the live version.

The bonuses on mBit casino includes a no deposit bonus of 50 free spins for a new user. Deposit bonus is a maximum of a 110% bonus and 250 free spins for the first deposit. That is not the end, on the second deposit, there is a 50% bonus and a 75% for the third deposit. For existing players on mBit casino, there are loyalty programs. There is a 100% bonus for Fridays and a daily 20% cashback on losses.

Deposits on the mBit casino can be with cryptocurrency or fiat. The supported cryptos are Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin cash, Dogecoin and Tether. The fiat deposit has a variety of payment options via cards, payment gateways and direct bank transfer. Just like most crypto gambling sites, you have an anonymous status when you sign up.


  • A well varied game options
  • Easy to use platform
  • Offers both crypto and fiat payments
  • Attractive welcome bonuses
  • Live casino option with live dealer option


#4. Bovada – Best for Betting and Live Dealer Games

Bovada casino is a full online betting and gambling site. In fact, it’s one of the most popular Ethereum betting sites available online. There are bettings on UFC, hockey, and baseball. Classic casino games like bingo, horse racing, slot games, poker, and classic table are featured on Bovada. The casino started operation in 2011 and is managed by Mohawk Gaming Group that is a licensed gambling company. Bovada casino is a US gambling site.

This casino offers both gambling and betting experiences. The website works well on both desktop and mobile devices with over 280 real money games. You get to play Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Jackpot, slot games, and video poker. Popular games like Sudoku, Go-Go Bingo, Jack poker, Tri-Card Poker, and more are on Bovada. There is a Bovada red room for VIPs where players get 10% cash back and instant withdrawals. This room is only accessed on an invite, it is a loyal gambler reward package.

There are bonuses for new users, there is a 100% deposit bonus for poker players. New players are given offers up to $3000 in worth when the credit card deposit option is used. There is up to a $3700 bonus offer when Ethereum is used to make a deposit. The casino also features a referral bonus of $100 for everyone that signs up. There are customer support options including, phone calls, live chat, and email.

Payment options for deposits on Bovada casino allow for both crypto and fiat currencies. Cryptocurrencies that can be used are Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Each payment option comes with limits. For instance, there is a maximum of $5,000 that can be deposited in Ethereum value.


  • A good desktop and mobile experience
  • Supports both fiat and cryptocurrency
  • Live casino option
  • 100% welcome bonus
  • Over 120 casino games
  • Offers gambling and betting experiences


#5. Katsubet – Best for Fast Crypto Payouts

Katsubet casino is the best for fast crypto payouts. The casino has an over 93% payout rate which is one of the highest available. The website is nicely designed and compatible with Android, iPhone, Windows phones, and all desktops. Katsubet casino started operation in 2020, quite recently. It is a legalized gambling site as it is licensed by Curacao eGaming and audited by RNG audit limited.

The game options are so wide with over 2600 games available. There is assuredly one game that fits into anyone’s persona. Katsubet casino is a place where you can always find an expression for your gambling desires. It is designed to support mobile play since it was created only recently with thousands of slot games. On the mobile, you have access to all the available games. And this can be done with a lot of bonuses and rewards. There is access to live dealer games like roulette, poker, blackjack, and others even on your mobile devices.

The welcome bonus on Katsubet casino is a 100% deposit bonus with 100 free spins. The bonuses extend up to the fourth deposit. The second deposit attracts a 75% bonus, while the third is a 50% bonus. On the fourth deposit, there is another 100% bonus. Like every other gambling site, there is a 40 times wager mandate to be eligible for withdrawal when you use these welcome bonuses.

Making deposits is made easy with Kasubet casino. Ethereum alongside other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash can be used to make deposits. There is also the option of paying through fiat currencies. Withdrawals can be made through the same modes of deposit but they must be to an account bearing the player’s name. The customer support service is available for 24 hours via calls, live chat, and email.


  • Offers a wide array of games
  • Varied deposit and withdrawal options
  • Mobile-friendly online casino
  • Supports both crypto and fiat
  • Enticing bonus for new players


#6. TrustDice – Best for Live Casino Games

TrustDice casino is an online Ethereum gambling site with a cool interface. The casino is licensed in Curacao and offers a safe and secure gambling experience. TrustDice began operation in 2018 with options of gambling on sports and other casino games. Excellently, this casino is available in 10 different languages and in most countries of the world.

The gambling options on TrustDice features live casino games, jackpots, and multi-coin faucets. It has EOS dice games with options to roll over or roll under. In total, there are about 2,000 online crypto games on the TrustDice platform. Gaming options include these categories; crypto roulette, Baccarat, video poker, classic slots, and several table games. Over 25 free spin slot games are also available on the TrustDice online casino. The live dealer games are also an exciting option supported by Evolution Gaming. The live casino deals include crypto poker, crypto blackjack, baccarat, and crypto roulette. Also, provably fair games are available in this casino.

For increased trust and transparency, there is bet verification on TrustDice. It is a combined platform that gives both gambling and betting options to users. There is a VIP reward program called Satoshi Club. In this exclusive space, loyal players can access 20% cashback with a personal VIP manager. The payment options are varied to accommodate Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and special coins like TXT and U Net.

TrustDice has an affiliate program that gives up to 50% commission to players. The casino is secured by EOS blockchain technology making it transparent and anonymous. Users can opt for an extra layer of security with 2FA (Two Factor Authentication). The customer support service offers the live chat option coupled with email. The customer service is available in several languages including English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian among others.


  • Offers over 2,000 gaming options
  • The casino is backed by EOS Blockchain
  • There is improved security and anonymity
  • The customer support service is 24 hours with live chat features
  • Features live crypto gambling and casino games


#7. CloudBet – Best For Sports Betting

When it comes to Ethereum sports betting and crypto casinos, CloudBet is the best option. CloudBet started operation in 2013 as an online betting and casino site. It supports payment only in Ethereum, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies. This makes it exclusively a crypto gambling and betting casino. Asides from deposits, withdrawals as well can only be made in crypto forms. Cloudbet has a catchy user interface that is simple to use with options of Sportsbook, Casino, or Esports.

CloudBet is the best Ethereum betting site that gives users a worthwhile and extensive enjoyment of betting and gambling. The Sportsbook is the sports betting platform where you can enjoy the best odds across football, basketball, baseball, tennis, American football, and others. Live betting is made possible both on the esports and the sportsbook with swift updates. The Esports part of the CloudBet site allows for live streaming of sports activities. The streaming is to augment the live betting feature.

There is a good reward system for new users on the CloudBet Sportsbook. There is a 100% bonus on first-time deposits up to 5 Eth. The bonus is released as you earn loyalty points after placing bets on the site. A zero-margin betting option is available for limited users on CloudBet for a guaranteed price. The casino feature is also available on the same site with over 1000 games. On the online casino, you can play Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, slots, video poker, video slots and live dealer games.

CloudBet does not have a dedicated mobile application but the website is mobile-friendly across all devices. The parent company that operates this Ethereum gambling and casino site is Halcyon Super Holding B.V. The company is registered in Curacao and has an eGaming license. They offer excellent customer service with 24 hours live chat and email support in 7 different languages.


  • Full sports betting on over 20 sports
  • 100% welcome bonus for new users
  • Full Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies payment
  • Secure and anonymous betting and gambling experience
  • 24 hours live chat customer support


  • Does not support fiat deposits
  • The bonuses are not released once, loyalty points are required

How We Ranked the Best Ethereum Gambling Sites and Casinos

There are now several online Ethereum casinos with the increased establishment of cryptocurrency. In this article, we have discussed the 7 best Ethereum Casino sites. But, how did we rank them? There are key features of these online casino sites that we used in ranking them.

Ethereum Casino Bonuses and Promotions

As much as a gambling site requires that you make deposits, there should be a sort of compensation for your deposit. Bonuses attract users to a gambling site because everyone wants some freebies. At the same time, all gambling sites have conditions to earn these bonuses and rewards. Some even have a plan for installment release of these bonuses.

Basically, the welcome bonuses for new users, the number of free spins, the condition for accessing these bonuses, and VIP packages are the major points. These criteria informed the ranking.

Number of Ethereum Casino Games

Another factor that was considered in the ranking of these Ethereum casino sites is the number of online casino games. The casino games being offered are important to users’ engagement and fun. The more the games, the better.

License and Registration

It is important to gamble on a site that is licensed. The licensing is proof of sticking to the standard of practice and operations. Players’ rights are supposed to be protected and this will only be done by a licensed and registered Ethereum casino site. All of the seven we ranked are licensed.

Deposit and Withdrawal

The payment options for deposit and withdrawal of funds are another important factor in ranking Ethereum casinos. The presence of crypto payment options is a priority and Ethereum is a key factor. The usage of cryptocurrency makes gambling anonymous and secure. The deposit fees and withdrawal conditions were also put into consideration.

Reputation and Credibility

Finally, the reputation and credibility of these Ethereum online casinos were carefully considered. What people that have gambled in the past on these online gambling sites are saying is important in proving the credibility of the site. The company that owns these gambling sites was researched.

Best Ethereum Casinos – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Are Ethereum Casinos Trustworthy?

Yes, there are Ethereum casinos that are true to their words. Right from the welcome bonus promised to newly registered users to the withdrawal conditions. The important thing is to ensure that before committing to gamble or play on any site, do a good background check.

Asides from reading reviews on different sites, you should also check out their privacy pages. It is important to know exactly what is at stake before going ahead to deposit in an online casino. Ethereum casinos are trustworthy and here in this article are 7 of the best you can trust with your crypto deposits.

– Why Should I Bet With Cryptocurrency?

Betting with cryptocurrency comes with more perks than the traditional fiat casino sites. The first is that you can easily make deposits from anywhere in the world anonymously. This means you don’t need to worry about your credit card regulations. Betting with cryptocurrency is also with low to zero fees.

The main reason you should consider betting with cryptocurrency after the ease of depositing is anonymity. You can keep your gambling a secret from your credit agency, family members, and banks.

– Can I Get In Trouble For Betting With Ethereum?

There is no chance of getting in trouble when you bet with Ethereum on a credible Ethereum casino. You can keep betting off your banking channels and even a secret from your family members. The only chance of being in trouble is losing your Ethereum when you bet on an online gambling site that is not credible.

Betting on a site that is not licensed can make you lose your Ethereum deposits. It can also expose your pieces of information to the wrong hands. Once you are registered at a safe Ethereum casino, there is nothing to worry about.

– Are There Any Downsides To Betting Online?

If you’re used to the social benefits of betting in a physical casino, this may be a downside to betting online. Betting online can also be made socially engaging on online platforms where you can interact with other users in a community.

– How Can I Determine the Best Ethereum Casino for Me?

The best Ethereum casino for you is dependent on how well you can define your wants. There are a variety of games and offers across various crypto casinos. So, you need to check through if the site has the games you love to play. You should also check their reward and bonus system, does it look like what you want?

It is important to find out about the payment options, can other cryptocurrencies be used? And also, how are the withdrawal conditions? Considering these factors carefully will help you determine the best site for you.

– How Can I Buy Ethereum?

Buying ETH is easy, all you have to do is open an account on a crypto exchange like Coinbase, Binance, FTX, Kraken, KuCoin or any other. After successful verification, you will be able to top-up your wallet with fiat currency and trade it to Ethereum or any other crypto.

ETH Online Casinos – Conclusion

Ethereum gambling sites are getting to the fore now because of the obvious advantages they offer above other online casinos. It gets interesting that there are various options to pick from, some are still offering a combination of fiat and crypto options. There are also Ethereum sites that are offering both sports betting and casino games.

If your desire is the best offer for provably fair games, decent bonuses, easy withdrawal, and payout time, BitStarz is your Ethereum Casino. This casino offers over 4,000 games that users can choose from. The next best option is the 7Bit Casino.

Some sites mentioned in this article may not be available in your location. Gambling is strictly18+, it can be addictive. If you have a gambling addiction, please call the National Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700 to get the help you need.

Casinos and other operators in Pennsylvania set a new annual record for gambling revenue, state regulators said Tuesday, rising above $5 billion for the first time amid surging betting on online casino games and a post-pandemic return to the casinos’ slot machines and table games.

Operators in one of the nation’s largest commercial casino states won more than $5 billion from gamblers in the 12 months through June 30, according to the figures from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

That was about 30% higher than the $3.9 billion recorded in the previous fiscal year, and slightly above the previous calendar year high of $4.7 billion reported in January.

The rebound continues after pandemic-related shutdowns sapped casino revenue in 2020.

The casino winnings came from 16 casinos, including four new mini-casinos authorized under a 2017 law, as well as fantasy sports operators and truck stops.

Revenue in casinos from slot machines grew to $2.4 billion and from table games to above $1 billion.

Online gambling, in just its fourth year, grew again to pass $1.2 billion. Sports betting, in just its fifth year, added $325 million in revenue.

Pennsylvania legalized both sports betting and online gambling as part of an aggressive gambling expansion in 2017.

Pennsylvania has been neck-and-neck with New Jersey for No. 2 in commercial casino revenue behind Nevada, according to figures compiled by the American Gaming Association. Pennsylvania is No. 1 in tax revenue from gambling, according to the association’s figures.

According to the list maintained by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the owner of BetRivers applied for a mobile management services provider license on July 19, just past a key deadline.

Last Updated: Jul 25, 2022 4:22 PM ET Read Time: 2 min

A last-minute rush to apply for Ohio sports betting licenses is over, but a submission by one more mobile sportsbook still trickled in last week.

According to the list maintained by the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the owner of BetRivers applied for a mobile management services provider license on July 19.

The regulator’s list shows BetRivers aims to partner with Hollywood Casino Columbus, which already intends to use Barstool Sportsbook as its first mobile skin. This seems understandable, as the Hollywood Casino is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., which also owns Barstool Sportsbook.

Barstool Sportsbook’s application for a mobile management services provider license, a permit that would allow the operator to conduct online sports betting on behalf of the casino, was submitted back on June 30. The timing tees up Barstool to launch on Jan. 1, 2023, the “universal start date” for legal sports betting in Ohio.

BetRivers, however, may not be as fortunate. By not applying until after July 15, which was a key deadline for online and retail sports betting licenses, there is no guarantee it will be approved to launch on January 1. Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission, also warned last week that the regulator will not simply rubber-stamp applications.

At any rate, the application means there could be one more sportsbook eventually added in a state that is already set to play host to 20 or more.

Ohio’s sports-betting law initially allows for up to 25 online sports betting licenses for “proprietors,” who can partner with up to two mobile management services providers (such as Barstool or BetRivers). However, a proprietor will only be allowed a second mobile skin after showing there is an economic benefit to the arrangement, among other things.

Here is the list, as of last Friday, of companies applying for mobile management services provider licenses and the professional sports organizations, casinos, and racetracks with which they intend to partner:

  • BetMGM (MGM Northfield Park)
  • PointsBet (Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley)
  • DraftKings (Hollywood Casino Toledo)
  • Barstool (Hollywood Casino Columbus)
  • FanDuel (TBD)
  • Fanatics (Columbus Blue Jackets)
  • Caesars Sportsbook (Scioto Downs)
  • Hard Rock (Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati)
  • Betfred (Cincinnati Bengals)
  • bet365 (Cleveland Guardians)
  • PlayUp (JACK Cleveland Casino)
  • SuperBook (FC Cincinnati)
  • Tipico (Columbus Crew)
  • Fubo (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Instabet (Pro Football Hall of Fame Village)
  • Parx (Muirfield Village Golf Club)
  • Underdog (Cincinnati Reds)
  • Out The Gate Inc. (SPIRE Institute)
  • Gamewise/Betly (TBD)
  • Bally Bet (Cleveland Browns)
  • BetRivers (Hollywood Casino Columbus)

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Online Maryland sports betting took a recent step forward, but there is still no timeline for launch.

At its meeting last week, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission advanced Maryland online sports betting draft regulations and applications. The drafts move on to a legislative review committee and a 30-day public review period.

The SWARC has met monthly since August 2021 and has held up the mobile sports betting launch mainly under the guise of working toward making the industry inclusive. However, the regulations and application drafts advance without race and gender criteria.

“Over the past year, we’ve heard extensive legal advice regarding constraints upon us in so managing a licensing process,” SWARC Chairman Thomas Brandt said. “To avoid further delays, we’ve asked the staff and professional team to draft regulations which exclude race- and gender-based license criteria.”

Governor Hogan pressure in Maryland paying off?

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan pressed the SWARC to get online sports betting off the ground, including setting a date for the launch. While the commission only briefly addressed the governor’s concern in a meeting, it does appear they are working more expeditiously than before.

The SWARC was waiting for a disparity study to finish to determine if extra efforts were needed to include minority- and women-owned businesses in the sports betting industry. The commission is moving forward without the study, which the SWARC expects to review next month.

Instead, each applicant must demonstrate at least a 5% ownership with a maximum net worth of $1.8 million. According to statements made during the meeting, that net worth requirement is similar to other Maryland industries.

Timeline coming for Maryland sports betting

The SWARC is responsible for setting up the regulations and criteria for the competitive licenses in the state, including up to 60 mobile licenses and 30 retail establishments. Brandt said that the SWARC could add additional criteria to the regulations and applications once the commission reviews the disparity study.

After the SWARC reviews the study and the drafts make it through the public review period, it can set a time to accept applications. Once the SWARC sets that date, it can explore additional timelines.

“A lot of effort has been made to measure twice and cut once,” Brandt said.

SWARC member Randy Marriner then said, “I think we’ve measured more than twice, Tom.” The comment generated a hearty laugh from the call.

Diversity included in Maryland designated licenses

While the SWARC will continue its work to ensure the sports betting industry is diverse, MD legislation designates licenses to several businesses that meet those qualifications. Last week, Betfred partnered with Long Shot’s, a woman-owned business.

PointsBet partnered with Riverboat on the Potomac, a minority-owned business.

In Hogan’s letter pressuring the commission, he said the SWARC should prioritize mobile licensing for the 17 establishments named for retail licenses.

Maryland sports betting slogs along

Five retail sportsbooks opened in December 2021. Several more, including Long Shot’s and Riverboat on the Potomac, are in the final approval process before launch.

Those five sportsbooks took $19.1 million in bets during June. Through seven months of sports betting, Maryland has collected $2.9 million in sports betting taxes.

Maryland voters approved sports betting in November 2020 and have waited since then for online sports betting. The SWARC canceled its July 20 meeting and will meet on August 17.

If the state’s voters fail to legalize online sports betting in California this November, they just might get a crack at doing so again in 2024. Operators of several US casinos – tribal gambling facilities inside California’s borders, to be exact – have submitted a petition to put their own proposal on the ballot that year.

There are several key differences between Prop 27 on the ballot this fall and the language of the potential measure that might appear on the 2024 ballot. Depending on your perspective, each has its superior qualities over the other.

California online sports betting petition ready for inspection

Some tribal casino operators are waging a campaign on two fronts when it comes to online sports betting in California. One front is pushing for Californians to vote no on Prop 27, while the other is an attempt to qualify their own initiative for the ballot in 2024.

On Monday, PlayCalifornia confirmed that leaders from the Graton Rancheria, Rincon, San Manuel, and Wilton Rancheria tribal nations filed their petition for a 2024 ballot measure with California Sec. of State Shirley Weber‘s office.

The proposed amendment to the state’s constitution is called the Age-Verified Tribal On-Line and In-Person Sports Wagering & Homelessness Solutions Act.

Local officials had 30 days from that filing to conduct a random sampling of the signatures. In order to qualify for the ballot automatically, workers must be able to verify 110% of the sample. The minimum signature threshold is 997,139 signatures from registered California voters.

Should the workers fail to verify at least 95% of the signatures, the petition would be dismissed. If the verification falls somewhere between 95% and 110%, the state will take on the work of checking each signature.

Thus, Californians should know in late August whether the Act will get the automatic qualification, miss the cut, or be awaiting further verification. Should the state certify the petition, the vote on Prop 27 this year becomes a lot more interesting.

Aren’t Californians voting on the same thing this year?

Well, kind of. To be clear, voter approval of Prop 27 this fall would not mean the 2024 ballot measure becomes pointless. In fact, getting their initiative on the ballot in 2024 would actually become even more important for the tribal casino operators behind it.

The huge difference between Prop 27 and the proposed 2024 ballot measure is the control of online sports wagering in the state. The language of Prop 27 effectively makes tribal casinos a part of the ecosystem, whereas the 2024 measure would make tribal casinos the center of that system.

There are some similarities. Both measures would legalize online sports betting in most of the state. Online sportsbook operators like BetMGM, DraftKings, etc., would have to partner with tribal casinos in both proposals.

Additionally, both measures allocate revenue from online sports betting to social causes like housing and non-gaming tribal groups within California. However, the aspects in which the proposals differ are massive.

What are the differences between the two California online sports betting proposals?

There are some funding differences. The housing allotment in the 2024 measure would be a 10% cut of gross revenue. Prop 27 allocates 85% of the 10% revenue share for the cause. These are the bigger deviations.

So, what are the scenarios from here? It’s a little hard to tell at the moment, but the bottom line could be that there will be lawyers.

What might happen with gambling in California in the near future


To produce some hypotheticals, some assumptions are necessary. First, let’s assume the tribal operators behind the 2024 measure do eventually qualify their ballot measure.

Furthermore, let’s assume that there are no legal hurdles to tribal gaming compact holders offering online gambling on non-tribal lands. (That’s a completely separate but perhaps relevant matter that could occupy an entire semester course at a law school)

From there, the simplest scenario is both Prop 27 and the 2024 measure failing at the ballot box. As far as online sports betting goes, things in California would continue exactly as they are now. Of course, there’s the matter of in-person wagering that Prop 26 this year governs, but let’s not complicate things any further right now.

The next circumstance is Prop 27 failing at the ballot box this year and the 2024 measure getting voter approval. The terms of the 2024 measure would simply become law in California in that case. Should the opposite happen, Prop 27 passes, and the 2024 measure fails, all tenets of Prop 27 would remain law.

The stickiest situation would be both Prop 27 and the 2024 measure passing.

Competing laws mean lots of attorney billable hours

In that situation, courts would likely become the arbitrator of which measure overrides the other where the two differ. That would likely be an expensive, long battle that could even involve federal courts because the US government is a party to tribal gaming compacts.


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