Online Gambling in US Under Fire Despite Success

by Kyle Miller

United StatesIt seems opponents of online gambling are not giving up just yet, despite the fact that states are seeing success.

For years now, a fight has been ongoing involving online gambling in the United States. Go back decades and you will find that online gaming was a successful industry in the US but not necessarily regulated. Enter the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 and many online casino and poker operators left the country to avoid any legal issues. While major operators left the country, many remained, and players have continued to enjoy online gaming from offshore providers. Fast forward to 2011 and the US Department of Justice reinterpreted the Wire Act of 1961, which allowed states to pass legislation to offer online casino and poker games. Delaware was the first to do so followed by Nevada and New Jersey.

Over the years, opponents of online gaming have continued to fight the legalization of such gaming, going after the Wire Act decision as well as creating other bills that would ban the activity across the nation. These efforts have not been successful. It seemed that after New Jersey began to show such promise with their online gaming industry that opponents efforts might die down, but that is not the case.

New Jersey Shines

Of the three states that currently offer iGaming, New Jersey outshines them all. The state earned just over $245 million for 2017, easily earning $20 million+ for most months of the year. Online casinos and poker rooms have continued to rake in the revenues, showing that the activities are wanted in the states and that money can be earned. The online efforts of New Jersey have actually helped Atlantic City come out of a long stretch of losses and regrowth is currently in the works.

Because of the success in the Garden State, other states are looking to pass similar legislation. Pennsylvania actually did pass legislation to legalize online gaming and will get started offering table games, poker and slots sometime this year. Already, states are introducing legislation in 2018 to get a head start on trying to see the activity come to pass within their borders.

Why the Opposition?

Because New Jersey has been so successful and online gaming is working in other states, why is there so much opposition? Many operators worry that online gaming will be cannibalistic towards their current land-based revenues. While this is a fear that has some weight, New Jersey has proven that online gaming can actually provide a boost to land-based venues. Plus, by being involved in the action, land-based operators earn revenues from the iGaming activities.

In most states in the US, there are huge budget deficits that need to be met. With online gaming, the revenues earned can contribute to money needs of each state. Plus, a measure of security is involved as consumers have access to gaming in a regulated environment. Players are taking part in iGaming, whether their state offers it or not, so each state might as well benefit plus provide much-needed protections for consumers regarding personal information as well as financials.

Those opposed to taming continue to try to justify their stance but are constantly shot down by proponents. Arguments are now outdated and misleading, with data now clearly showing that online gambling regulation is beneficial in a number of ways.

Efforts still remain to try and stop online gambling on a federal level but with more states showing interest, it should become increasingly difficult for any lawmaker to try and shut down their blossoming industry.