NY, Maryland, and Illinois: Which Will OK Online Poker in 2024? NY, Maryland, and Illinois: Which Will OK Online Poker in 2024?
Key Takeaways
  • Illinois, Maryland and New York are the most likely states to approve online poker in 2024.
  • In Maryland, polls show 70% of voters support online poker and casino gaming.
  • A report in Illinois projects a potential revenue of $868 million from igaming in 2024, with two bills currently under consideration.
  • New York’s decade-long effort to legalize online poker may finally succeed in 2024.

As 2023 draws to a close and the new year approaches, three states — Illinois, Maryland and New York — are the most likely places where real money online poker would win approval in 2024.

A new US online poker state won’t happen until 2025 at the earliest. Consider that voters in Maryland won’t get a chance to decide the issue until November — if they get to at all. And lawmakers in all three states face their own sets of challenges in getting online poker across the finish line.

But which state will get there first? We look at all three states and rank their likelihood of being first to approve online poker.

Last verified: July 2024
Great Welcome Bonus!
100% deposit bonus up to $600!
  • Play one hand & get $150 in bonus play funds
  • Top-quality mobile app
  • Best online MTT schedule
Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

Maryland: Some Great Poll Numbers

Of the three scenarios, approval of online poker in Maryland seems the most likely in 2024.

Maryland is one of those states where voters have to approve any expansion of gaming, so the first hurdle will be for lawmakers to agree to put the question on the ballot in November.

It’s unclear where lawmakers stand on the issue. Some naysayers have cited a November report, commissioned by the regulator, that projected online casino gaming would impact revenue for land-based casinos by 8%-9% annually.

But that same report also projected that an online poker and casino market in the Old Line State would gross $921.1 million by 2032.

More telling is a new poll of likely Maryland voters. It found found overwhelming support (nearly 70%) for having online poker and casino gaming run alongside sports betting, which launched in November 2022.

And a recent editorial by the Baltimore Sun, the largest newspaper in the state, urged lawmakers to proceed slowly with any igaming expansion. The editorial suggests local media perceive lawmakers to already be well down the road with the idea — and that the newspaper was urging them to tap the brakes.

If Maryland lawmakers are interested in giving their constituents what they appear to want, the question of whether to expand igaming should be on the ballot in November.

Prediction: 80% chance that Maryland voters support expanded igaming in November.

Illinois: Report Gives Rosy Outlook

The situation for online poker in Illinois and New York — lawmakers, not voters, will decide whether igaming expands there.

Both states are worthy of a second place nod in terms of which will have online poker next, and the vertical could very well win approval in both states in 2024. But the Land of Lincoln appears to have an edge over the Empire State for two reasons.

First, mobile sportsbooks launched in Illinois in June 2020 — a year and a half before they started operations in New York, in January 2022. That means in Illinois:

  • Regulators have had more time to fix any issues that arose from sports betting, and to use the additional experience to thoughtfully consider how best to regulate any future igaming expansion;
  • Lawmakers have had time to analyze how sports betting has fared and weighed its pros and cons — the benefits from additional tax revenue versus the negative effects from problem gambling; and
  • Public acceptance of igaming has likely grown as sports betting has continued.

Second, a report by analysts with Morgan Stanley projected igaming expansion would be a windfall for the state, with an estimated $868 million from igaming revenue in 2024 — although that assumed online poker and casino would get legalized in 2023; the report was released in May 2022.

Coupled together, those factors likely all work in Illinois’ favor. Two bills are still under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly — both call for legalizing Illinois online poker and casino gaming. Passage could come in 2024.

Prediction: 65% chance that Illinois lawmakers approve of expanded igaming in 2024.

New York: A Decade of Futility?

Which brings us to the Empire State. There’s a very good chance that, after a decade of trying, lawmakers will pass a bill legalizing online poker in 2024. Proponents plan to introduce legislation in the new year, and have projected that igaming will make the state $1 billion annually.

That said, consider that supporters of NY online poker and casino have been trying to get legislation passed since 2013. A decade later, it still hasn’t happened. And it remains unclear if Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul supports expanding igaming — her lack of support torpedoed the idea of adding online poker and casino in 2023.

Supporter of expanded igaming counter that the state is facing a $4.3 billion budget deficit in 2024, growing to $8 billion in 2025. Legalizing online poker and casino gaming could help soften the blow.

Prediction: 50% chance that New York approves expanded igaming in 2024.