Internet Gambling In The US

In January 2014, a Fox News report titled “Cybergambling Returns—and This Time It’s Legal” delighted several US gamblers who were dying to play online casino games for real money legally from the cozy comforts of their homes.

The report is all about how Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, legalized online poker and online casino games, expressing hopes of generating as much as $1 billion in legal gambling revenues and claiming 17% of it as tax for the state. Although New Jersey wasn’t the first US state to legalize online gambling, it was the first to do so completely. Nevada and Delaware had already done so last year, but in limited forms; and to date, Nevada remains a poker-only state.

The first online gambling laws were created in Antigua and Barbuda in 1994, enabling operators to launch their online casino, online poker, and online sports betting businesses. The US struggled, and is still struggling, to regulate online activities, especially gambling, although it has come a long way. Till recently, US lawmakers and gambling attorneys believed that certain old laws such as the Federal Wire Act of 1961 can be interpreted as applicable to online gambling too. And in 2006, the law that had the most severe impact on the online gambling industry was enacted—the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Although inadequate in several ways, it made it illegal for banks and financial institutions to process gambling-related financial transaction, leading to the exodus of several operators such as Party Poker and payment processors such as Neteller from the US market. A few operators such as Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars continued to operate in the market, but things got worse in April 2011 when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) began cracking down on them, seizing their domain names, freezing their accounts, and indicting their executive officers on various counts of money laundering, bank fraud, and illegal gambling.

Then, on Dec 23, 2012, the DoJ did something that opened a floodgate of fresh online gambling opportunities to individual US states. It published a re-interpretation of the Federal Wire Act, announcing that this law no longer applies to online casino and online poker gaming. The first states to grab the opportunity were Delaware and Nevada. The first state to draw up a regulatory framework for online poker was Nevada, and the first fully licensed and regulated online poker room, called Ultimate Poker, was launched in Nevada in April 2013.

Today, there are plenty of exciting legal online gambling options in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. Although open only to residents of those states, there are plans to sign interstate compacts and merge player pools to create a more lucrative gambling atmosphere.

But many experts are of the opinion that state-level legalization of online gambling, especially online poker, could lead to a fall in the industry. Citing examples of a similar decline in EU member states, they say that online poker can thrive in the US only if legalized at the federal level.

Web master of the US internet gambling web site cyberspacegambling.com.

Web master of the US internet gambling web site cyberspacegambling.com.