Will we see Mega Moolah in Pennsylvania any time soon?

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At the present moment, Microgaming software, including the famous progressive jackpot slot Mega Moolah, is not available for players in the United States to play.

However, the situation regarding betting and online casino gaming in the United States is changing and in a big way and it is possible that in the future, US-based players may well once again be able to play MegaMoolah.com.

How and why is that even possible? Well to discover more about this we need to first learn a little about the situation regarding gambling in the United States at the present moment.

Is gambling legal in the United States?

Unfortunately, there is no cover-all-bases answer to this question. The US Government has decreed that gambling is legal across the United States, however they have also stated that each of the individual states can decide which, if any, forms of gambling are legal or illegal within their borders.

So, this leaves us a situation where we have some states, such as Alaska or Utah, where there is no form of gambling allowed in the state, not even a state lottery. Many other states allow people to bet on a state lottery and a fewer number still allow other forms of betting. When it comes to sports betting and online casino gaming though, there are a relatively small number of states where this is allowed.

This includes Nevada (home to Las Vegas), New Jersey, Delaware and most recently Pennsylvania has joined the party, with its first online casino's and poker rooms set to join the online sports betting services already available across the state, this week.

So, while gambling is legal in the United States, it is not possible for Microgaming to operate as they would in a standard country, by applying for a license to operate within that jurisdiction and then bring their games to everybody based in that country. In the United States, the company would need to individually apply to each state and that is not only time consuming but costly too.

However, things are slowly starting to change in the United States and the example of what has happened in Pennsylvania recently is a great example of this.

The change in attitude to betting online across the United States

There are many motivating forces that drive the wheels of capitalism and the free market but there are none quite so motivational as cold, hard cash. With each state able to essentially decide its own rules as regarding gambling and in particular online gambling and sports betting, many states have watched on as places where online gambling was still legal, such as Nevada, has managed to generate millions of dollars in taxes annually.

With evidence suggesting that a blanket ban on American citizens was simply forcing American punters to use dodgy bookmakers, state governors soon realized that this money was essentially being lost to the state with no form of taxation possible on it.

Therefore, in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey being allowed to offer sports betting, and in its ruling made it possible for other states to follow suit, a huge number of states (estimated at around 30-40 from within the Union) at least began the process to possibly offer sports betting and other forms of online gaming (such as casino betting) to its citizens.

What has happened since hasn't been a deluge of states adopting online gambling, but rather more a slow trickle. New Jersey was one of the first and since introducing it, the state has benefited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, which of course, can all be reinvested back into the state infrastructure. It hasn't taken long for other states to realize that allowing online gambling and sports betting, could be their own cash cow.

Like I said, it would be easy to interpret this relaxing of the laws as a sign that America is starting to trust its citizens more, or a reflection of a change in attitudes towards online gambling, but the truth of the matter is, it is the financial factor which has been and continues to be the primary motivating factor for this change in attitude.

Pennsylvania

Sharing a border with New Jersey is Pennsylvania, a state which is home to a number of real world casinos and which was one of the first to follow New Jersey in allowing sports betting and online casino gaming, as well as poker rooms, to its inhabitants. Sports betting was made available earlier this year and has proven to be a huge success with a number of sports betting sites now available online for punters to enjoy.

Similarly, online casino sites, offering a wide range of slot games and poker rooms are also set to come on line from the 15 July.

Now this is where things get interesting. Microgaming have been looking at expanding into new territories across the world in recent years. The company has already started offering its products with providers in places like Colombia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria in recent times and it is also expanding into partner casinos in countries where it has already established a presence, with the aim of allowing more people than ever the ability to play Microgaming games.

Is it possible that Microgaming could strike a deal with one of the casinos offering online game-play in Pennsylvania, to perhaps allow customers to play a wide range of games including the MegaMoolah.com slot?

Such a move would be in keeping with Microgaming's current strategy, however there are some hurdles. Firstly, in Pennsylvania, to own an online gaming license, you must have real world casinos, which is why the providers online are establishments that own casinos throughout the state. You also need to stump up a fee (reputed to be around $10m) for licenses to run sports betting, casino and poker rooms online.

However, what is not clear is what games these casinos can offer. Could it be possible for Microgaming to agree a deal, as it did with BGO and Mansion casinos not so long ago, to offer its games in one of the casinos already with a license in Pennsylvania?

At the moment, whether this is financially or legally viable or not is unclear, but the fact that the legal situation in the United States across so many states is changing, or on the brink of changing, is something that a company like Microgaming, with its eyes on offering its games as far and wide as possible, should be very keen to become part of.

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