What The USA Should Learn From Legal Online Gambling From The UK

Legalizing online gambling in the UK has proven to be a lucrative source of tax revenue for the government.

The world of gambling has undergone a significant transformation with the inception of online platforms. The UK has the longest history of gambling and betting, dating back to 1960 when the first laws were passed. After a year, the first casino was opened, and as of today, there are over 175 legal online casinos in the UK; hence, the interplay among sports, betting, and economic factors has significantly shaped the UK economy. The USA, on the other hand, is navigating the beginning stages of this industry. In this article, we’ll talk about the lessons the USA can learn from the UK’s experience with legal online gambling, focusing on economic and social impacts.

The UK’s Economic Gains and Challenges

The UK’s online gambling sector has been a substantial source of tax revenue, contributing to the nation’s economic growth. However, the economic benefits extend beyond tax income, influencing consumer spending and stimulating related sectors.

Economic Impact: Tax Revenue Generation

Legalizing online gambling in the UK has proven to be a lucrative source of tax revenue for the government. According to research by Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, the taxation of online gambling activities has contributed millions to the national treasury annually, funding various public services and initiatives.

Effect on Ground Casinos and Employment

The rise of online casinos has substantially impacted brick-and-mortar traditional casinos, affecting them in several ways. Online casinos have introduced tough competition and market dynamics for the ground casinos, capturing a portion of the gambling market due to their convenience. This has led to a shift in consumer preferences, with many opting for online platforms over traditional casino visits.

Social Impact: Mental Health Concerns

Online gambling is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Misuse of substances like drugs and alcohol, particularly after a loss, low self-esteem due to the inability to control oneself, and stress disorder, which has drastic effects on mental health. 

Financial Struggles

Another social concern associated with online gambling is the potential for players to experience financial difficulties. The Guardian has documented cases where individuals have incurred significant debts or financial losses due to excessive gambling habits.

The USA’s Journey with Online Sports Betting

In the United States, legalizing online sports betting has been a state-by-state effort. Following the Supreme Court repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, several states quickly legalized sports betting. Oregon was among the early adopters, launching its sports betting market in August 2019. Oregon, one of the first states to legalize online betting, has seen a surge in gambling revenue while some adverse effects might be growing. However, experts caution against the risks associated with digital gambling, emphasizing the need for responsible gambling measures.

Oregon’s Oregon’s shift into legal sports betting was primarily aimed at generating new streams of tax revenue and providing an engaging form of entertainment for residents and visitors. The state has seen a steady increase in its monthly betting handle, indicating a growing market. For instance, the total betting handle nearly doubled from $218 million in 2020 to $497.5 million in 2022, with the revenue growing proportionally to $49.52 million. These funds have been allocated towards vital state programs, including education, environmental initiatives, and problem gambling assistance.

Social Implications in Oregon

The social implications of online sports betting in Oregon have been multifaceted. While the economic benefits are clear, experts have raised concerns about the potential risks associated with digital gambling. Issues such as problem gambling and the need for effective regulations to protect consumers have been at the forefront of discussions. The state has addressed these concerns, including allocating funds for problem gambling assistance. Oregon’s experience reflects the delicate balance that must be struck between leveraging the economic benefits of online sports betting and mitigating the social risks.

Regulatory Framework and Consumer Protection

The UK and the US have recognized the importance of a regulatory framework to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of the gambling industry. The UK’s mature market offers insights into effective regulation, while the USA is still refining its approach. And in the meantime, you can learn the following from the UK: 

Adopting Best Practices: Analyzing the UK’s regulatory measures and adapting them to fit that of the US.

Collaboration: Encouraging collaboration between states to develop uniform standards and regulations.

Monitoring Outcomes: Continuously monitoring the social and economic impacts of online gambling to inform future policy decisions.

Technological Advancements and Future Trends

The evolution of technology plays a crucial role in the online gambling industry. The UK’s experience highlights the need for the US to embrace technological advancements to meet consumer preferences and stay competitive.

While online gambling has brought economic benefits to the UK, it has also had opposing sides. The US can learn how to balance both to ensure that economic growth does not come at the cost of social well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How does online gambling contribute to the UK’s economy?

Online gambling generates significant tax revenue and stimulates consumer spending, contributing to economic growth.

  1. What are the mental health risks associated with online gambling?

Online gambling can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

  1. How has Oregon benefited from legalizing online sports betting?

Oregon has experienced economic growth through the increased betting handle and tax revenue.

  1. What measures are being taken to ensure safer online gambling?

Regulatory bodies are implementing measures such as stake limits for online slots, mandatory levies on betting firms, frictionless player protection checks, and enhanced powers for the Gambling Commission to tackle illegal gambling sites.


The USA stands to learn valuable lessons from the UK’s experience with online gambling. By examining the economic benefits and addressing the social challenges, the US can navigate the complexities associated with the betting industry. As states like Oregon lead the way, balancing economic interests with social responsibility is crucial to promoting a sustainable and ethical gambling environment.

Ashley Grasse
Ashley Grasse is a research writer and casino entertainment expert. She’s interested in game theory and strategy. Ashley reviews online casinos and writes blogs about trending topics in the gambling industry. In the years she’s been writing at OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com, she’s earned a reputation for her deep dives and thorough research. You can also find very quirky and entertaining pieces authored by Ashley throughout our site.