Will the USA Legalise Internet Gambling?
If we had a pound (or dollar) for every time we had been asked that question we would be substantially richer than we are today!
California’ budget is in a parlous state and any revenue from gambling would be welcome. But there are many legacy issues that have to be resolved. First of all the Indian tribes have been granted a monopoly for casino games and the State receives about US$360m a year from that monopoly provider.
Secondly, the US is a very religious country. Gambling is still in the “sin box” as far as faith groups are concerned and they will always oppose regulation of gambling.
But Internet gambling is already taking place in the US through offshore operators, which is causing a loss to foreign exchange and tax revenues for the individual states. At the same time the land-based businesses could be losing market share to the Internet.
The land-based businesses are at a real disadvantage. They cannot jeopardise the loss of their casino licences if they were to set up a gambling website offshore.
So the drivers toward legalisation are tax and the issue of making legal what is happening anyway.
GBGC believes the US could see legalisation of poker – but not soon. As the Chairman at the California hearings said, “Whatever decision is made I am sure we will end in court”.
But the Poker Voters of America are much more positive and are certain that regulation will happen in California this year.