Across the world today there is a form of video gaming that is proving immensely popular with practically every demographic; online gambling. Websites and providers are setting up websites that allow users to play online versions of games that otherwise would only be found within the four walls of a casino, with their own money, all for huge prizes and payouts. In the United States, however, this trend has barely taken off, thanks primarily to the still-stringent approach to gambling legislation within the country which has been challenged in recent years.
The issues stem from a rereading of the 1961 Federal Wire Act, a law that prohibits the undertaking of gambling over wired forms of communication, and today this is manifesting itself as a ban over such activities taking place over any internet connection. In 2011 though, prominent lawmakers concluded that the wording and grammar of the law only prohibited sports betting, meaning a de facto legalisation of online gaming occurred, allowing individual states the right to allow companies to offer online services, but only within that particular state. In New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, laws were passed which have now created a billion dollar industry, but due to a March 2015 hearing on a new bill designed to reverse the 2011 decision, these industries could be in for a rocky ride, or, indeed, far higher rates of competition.
What would legalisation mean for the online gaming industry? Well, if the rules on only conducting business within state lines are relaxed, all manner of overseas operators could end up doing business in the country. Operators such as South Africa’s YeboYesCasino could find themselves completely able to launch versions of their current services in the country, and would be presented with hundreds of millions of new, potential customers. We could be seeing stateside reviews of major international brands and free play deals catered towards American gamers within the space of a few years!
This might put an undue stress on the potential for home grown American operators, however, especially given that overseas companies have had up to twenty years of experience operating in the industry. This impetus might prove too much for economy-focused lawmakers wanting to get the most economic clout out of any deal, but that’s not to say this would spell the end of foreign companies’ hopes. Entering in to partnership deals with companies and casinos in the US – the likes of which have already been seen in New Jersey and elsewhere – could become the decision of choice for international operators, and would provide a boost to domestic American companies’ chances of success.
Do you think online gambling should be legalised country wide? Let us know your thoughts.