Cybergambling:US Holds Its Breath

The world seems to hold its breath, hoping that online gambling legislation might be revised and permitted in the world’s biggest economy-the United States.

Online gambling became prohibited in the US, after a bill was passed by America’s least popular president Bush in October 2006.  Those who championed the legalization of online gambling in the US are eager to see the bill enforced.

In 2010 alone four states in the US have considered to review its internet gambling policy to legalise a combination of internet poker, casino gaming and sports wagering.  In the nation’s Capitol a House committee has okayed legislation that would permit egaming between and among participating states and Indian nations.

Chief executive of PartyGaming, Jim Ryan reckons the future is looking much rosier for online gaming operators on both sides of the Atlantic now that the US is prepared to revise its online gambling policy.

It’s important not to start celebrating too early and a cold one is not justified as yet, the only thing one can do now is hope for the best and keep the champagne on ice for the time being.  Since 2001 the news pertaining to internet gambling has not been so popular, when Nevada and the US Virgin Islands enforced legislation that revised licensing restrictions for interstate as well as international ­ internet gambling.

To top it all, the federal Department of Justice has issued a dire warning to both jurisdictions that to pursue any form of egaming activity, laws that have been promulgated as far back as 1961 could be violated.

Why the chance of heart all of a sudden? Primarily companies that find themselves in the gambling industry are trying to use the current economical recession in the US to their advantage, hoping that US lawmakers would consent that the US economy could benefit from the egaming industry. Egaming companies feel that it’s a multi-billion dollar industry and has the potential to create thousands of jobs and could give the US economy a much needed shot in the arm.

Currently unemployment in the US stands at 9.6%, the majority of the states are staring budget deficits in the face as well as a federal deficit fast reaching US$1.3trn. Take these factors into consideration, the conditions to legalise internet gambling has never been more popular.  Lawmakers must wake up and forget about their self inflated egos and start thinking in terms of what’s best for the US economy and for its people. After all, it’s the people who put them there in the first place!

Federal Gaming Egaiming Projection

According to the Federal government’s auditing process, the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimated egaming could raise a whopping US$10bn and US$42bn in tax revenue by 2019, obviously this depends on the amount of states and tribes that agrees to the legalisation of internet gambling across the nation.

Internet gambling in the United States; casino, poker, bingo and other gaming markets, could potentially generate staggering gross revenue of US$18bn increasing to US$24.4bn around the 5th year, creating a plethora of jobs up to 32,000. But various states don’t necessarily generate the same amount of annual fiscal income from internet gambling, figures fluctuate from US$11.5m (Iowa) and US$988m (California).

The good news is that some of America’s top commercial and tribal casino operators now support the notion of legalised internet casino gambling. They decided to set aside their fears about both revenue cannibalisation and the stigma that has been associated with internet casino gambling to date. “The majority of the major online casino vendors are eagerly awaiting the legalisation of internet gambling again, as long as there are proper tax mechanisms in place and the general public is satisfied with it,” said Frank Fahrenkopf, President of the American Gaming Association.

Simultaneously the world’s egaming operators, both European and Caribbean are paying huge amounts of dollars to safeguard themselves against their exclusion from, or discrimination under any prospective licensing regime.  American politicians joined the fray to promote the legalisation of internet gambling, none more so than Congressman Barney Frank. Frank is of the opinion that’s it’s a citizens choice to participate in online gambling and the government has no right to intervene.

The political stand-off could clearly impacts negatively to the regulation efforts at all levels of the US government. The atmosphere between internet gambling vendors and the government across the country is getting heated by the day. Billions of dollars could be harvested and this issue will not simply fade away in the sunset.



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