Virtual Gaming Worlds, a popular social gaming platform, has decided to discontinue its operations in Michigan. This has caused many gambling industry specialists to reflect on the prospects of social gaming apps across other states. In New York, specifically, where interactive casinos are not governed by regulations, at present, the status of social casinos or sweepstake platforms, remains not clearly defined.
Social casinos present an increasingly popular alternative for players who are interested in iGaming but feel reluctant to wager US currency. They imitate real casino games such as slot machines, roulette, and poker, and offer a comparable casino experience but do not involve wagering with or winning real funds. Instead of real money, they make use of their own digital currencies. With a great diversity of social casino offerings, the format is simple and preferred by many players in states where online casinos are not legitimate yet.
Much like other states, New York has not yet legalized online gaming. However, considering sports betting’s fast-paced expansion and the potential legalization of interactive casinos, online social gaming venues could be attractive for iGaming fans in the state.
Social Casino Platforms in Michigan Forced to Cease Operations
Following a two-year investigation, this September, Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, ordered Golden Hearts Games to discontinue its business operations within the state. As Nessel confirmed, social online gaming platforms do not fall under the regulation of the state, their activity is not taxed, and consequently, illegal.
In her statement, she added that social casino platforms deprived the state’s schools and government of funding and left consumers unguarded against potential risks. She further mentioned that companies, like Golden Heart Games, left consumers with the wrong impression that social casino games were legal and did not pose any risks to them. The Attorney General reaffirmed her resolution to observe the state’s gaming laws and enforce them.
As a result of the regulatory tension, three other social casino platforms, Chumba Casino, Global Poker, and LuckyLand Slots, under the operation of Virtual Gaming Worlds, announced they would not accept players based in Michigan. As per the official statement of the company, concerning its exit from the Michigan market, it evaluated its “business operation in the interests of all stakeholders”.
At present, online casinos are not legal in New York. Although New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., has continually expressed his support for the legalization of the market, it has not come to fruition yet. With no rulings in place for social casinos and sweepstake-format apps, New York players can access them, or at least until lawmakers take action. The New York State Gaming Commission has yet to comment on the topic and discuss regulations associated with this format.