It was bound to happen, in times of plenty people are happy to make decisions based on very strict morality rather than economics. But in leaner times you’ll normally find people will be just a little more flexible. Internet gambling now seems likely to become a beneficiary of this more flexible approach because the US State Department of Justice has just reversed it’s long standing ban on gambling over the web.
It’s of course always been rather confused the US position on gambling online, perhaps best illustrated that billions are actually already wagered illegally by US citizens . The choices are limited though and if a US citizen visits any of the major internet betting sites they’ll be politely declined based on their location. Of course one of the big problems is that all of the money that is actually wagered online by US citizens simply flows out of the country to European and Asian based sites mostly – especially for the games of luck like internet roulette.
But this could be about to change in a development that may revolutionize the online gambling market. The US Justice Department was asked by New York and Illinois to clarify the rules for selling lottery tickets online. They wanted to be able to sell these tickets over the internet, however the response went much, much further. They stipulated that there was actually only one thing illegal under federal law and that was Sports betting across State and federal lines. Which ultimately means that the position has reversed from all online gambling is illegal to pretty much all gambling is legal online.
There is of course some concern – ruling what is not legal is still not really that clear. Bigger firms will probably be unwilling to invest greatly until there is something a little more clearer. In fact the American Gaming association stated –
validates the urgent need for federal legislation to curb what will now be a proliferation of domestic and foreign, unlicensed and unregulated gaming websites without consistent regulatory standards and safeguards against fraud, underage gambling and money laundering.
The remaining uncertainty probably won’t stop the smaller operators and experts predict that the online poker industry is probably going to be the first to benefit. Simply because it is more a game of skill than chance and is likely going to be safer until clarification is made from a federal level.
Hopefully this will lead to a much better experience for all gamblers and the eradication of the many sites that seek to operate in the shady confusion of the previous federal stance on gambling across the web.
Another positive note is that of development of the market. With this potential unleashed, expect there to be significant investment in new technology and ways of gambling – I’m sure there’s going to be some wonderful applications available to smart phone and tablet users .
There are already lots of applications available in Europe for placing a bet on a smart phone and I would expect that the US entering the market things will change rapidly.
But many are of course not happy – there are people deeply opposed to online gambling like the Reverend James Butler. He has been campaigning against the sorts of changes that look inevitable now for many years. In some senses he is ready to accept defeat as you can see from some of his tactics which aim to implement increasing regulations rather than maintaining the ban on gambling online.
Here’s some of his suggested regulations –
• People who receive public assistance – welfare, unemployment, food stamps, subsidized housing or medical care – or are behind in child support payments should not be permitted to gamble online.
• People should have to get permission from their spouse, who is legally responsible for any debt incurred, before being allowed to gamble online.
• Internet gamblers should not be able to file for personal bankruptcy.
It’s rather unclear how some of those regulations would be implemented however.
But for those of us who enjoy a flutter online and believe grown ups should be allowed access to this sort of entertainment if they so wish – then it’s great news. If you’ve never tried playing – you can try here and play the real game of roulette for fun. But remember it’s not real money and you can’t cash in your winning at the end (but also nobody will ask you for anything if you lose!)