At the suggestion of an online gambling industry professional, I spent 90 minutes asking Philadelphians a simple question. Is online gambling legal? Exactly 90% said “yes,” which will probably surprise the iGaming professional who wishes to remain anonymous.
Because despite Pennsylvania online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks becoming legal in 2019, many Keystone Staters still don’t know that they are allowed. Much less that this No. 1 online casino revenue state is on track to surpass $2 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) during 2023.
Ignorance of the law may be common throughout the US, but I only had time to set up a chair in the Italian Market.
So, discovering how much Americans at large know about legal online casino gambling will have to wait for a more scientific survey. Perhaps like the ones the iGaming industry conducts regularly.
Before heading out to survey people on the street on Dec. 29, I took a look at how to phrase the question I’d ask them.
I’d considered asking them about online casino gambling or iGaming, but a Google search autocompletion showed me I’d need to ask:
Is online gambling legal?
However, I knew asking them an inside baseball question using industry jargon would be unfair. As much as we love to talk about “online casino gambling” and “iGaming” here at Bonus, the average American may not know what those words mean.
I knew I was getting close to the perfect question when Google started returning results about legality rather than whether apps were “rigged.”
“Is iGam” autocompleted to:
is igaming legal in nevada
The answer is “yes,” but only online poker. However, that common Google search showed me that Nevadans were most likely to understand the meaning of the word “iGaming.”
I threw out that question.
Next, my result for “is online ca” was:
is online casino legal
However, “is online g” used one fewer letter to bring up:
is online gambling legal
I headed out to do the vox populi.
Is Online Gambling Legal?
It took 20 minutes before anyone was willing to talk to me.
Before then, I’d seen a man steer his mother away:
Let’s cross the street.
A woman walking with her two friends read my sign:
I ain’t gonna take no survey. Shit.
To her friends:
To me, after they’d passed me:
God bless you.
A man gave me $1. Then he apologized profusely and took his money back when I laughed and told him I wasn’t begging.
A fluffy black and white dog named “Roxy” put her paw on my knee to demand that I pet her. I complied.
Most people just walked around me without speaking to me.
After 75 minutes of waiting for people to opt into the survey by simply reading my sign and approaching me, I’d only gotten seven answers.
For the final 15 minutes of my time there, I started just calling out the question to get my final three answers.
Everyone wanted to remain anonymous.
As mentioned up top, 90% of those surveyed knew online gambling was legal. One man said it was “illegal.” Not counted in this survey are the two respondents — a man and a woman — who said, “I don’t know.”
What interested me was that far fewer women were willing to answer the question.
Only two women completed the survey, and both knew that online gambling was legal.
All respondents were American, except for one man from Ireland.
Yes, he knew I was asking about Pennsylvania’s online gambling status.
Finally, the most energetic response came from a man who smiled as he said, “yes,” online gambling was legal:
They’ll happily take your money!