“Why can’t I” or “when can I” are questions that online gamblers around the world have been asking themselves. There are many regions that permit online gambling but on the flip side, there are a number of them that still face restrictions. Why is it so taboo? If it’s good enough for most countries why aren’t others following suit? For example, some states in the US are going for online poker legalization since it’s considered to be a game of skill and not chance. This leaves out Slots and any casino games such as Blackjack, Craps and Roulette to name a few. Who is taking steps toward legalization?
The Dutch market is soon to be legalized and there has been some difficulty in nailing down taxation. Kansspelautoriteit or Dutch Games of Chance Authority director, Marja Appelman, has recently expressed concerns as it has caused delays in the implementation of legislation.
Appelman is putting the pressure on lawmakers to settle on a new regime. At the moment, Dutch players are allowed to gamble online but without proper laws in place they currently have no protection in terms of both unlicensed and unregulated operators and gambling addiction.
Gambling addiction is a serious issue in the Netherlands as there are nearly 9 million gamblers leaving approximately 90,000 at risk in theory, according to Appelman. Once laws are in place the regulator will be able to monitor the market and potential problem gambling.
The time is nearly here. Portugal has finally legalized online gambling, which becomes effective on June 28, 2015. The issue has been in the limelight for the past 10 years but Secretary of State for Tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes made the announcement this month. Portugal will handle licensing and regulation via the Santa Casa de Misericordia de Lisboa. Revenue will be generated by the issuance of licenses. With it being such a small country, operators will have to decide whether it will be worth their while to enter the market. Among the requirements of obtaining a Portuguese online gambling license are submission of financial guarantees, local representation and the use of local financial institutions.
With a lack of regulation at the federal level, the decision to legalize online gambling is left up to each state individually. Legalization would be a logical solution to generate income for the states, not to mention citizens’ rights. There are currently three states where online gambling is legal including Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. Opposition groups led by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and others are fighting to see a federal ban.
Adelson is the owner of the Las Vegas Sands and fears that online gambling would hurt the Las Vegas industry. Wynn owner, Steve Wynn, joins him in his opposing opinion but this hasn’t stopped certain states from exploring the possibilities.
Being from Illinois myself, we have made no steps toward legalization, which is funny since we have more land based casinos that you can imagine. I suppose the fear that allowing online gambling will affect our land based casino business has something to do with it. It’s not so bad for many of us because we have plenty of casinos out our back door. There was a time when casinos were mainly found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. If you wanted to gamble you hopped on a plane and visited one of these cities for the weekend. Once surrounding states jumped in on the band wagon, there was less of a need to travel to these gambling meccas. Pushing that even further by allowing online casino games could really take its toll.
Speaking of land based gambling, State Senate leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, has proposed a bill to expand gambling with a lottery, which is projected to generate $400 million annually, but this does not apply to the online gambling market. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world of online gambling in America.
This state has been going back and forth with online poker legalization and one bill, AB431, has made it through a legislative committee in California.
Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced the bill, which wisely left plenty of room for debate. To get the bill through the committee, Assemblyman Gray compromised on the language leaving room for the competing interests to give their input and sway things in their direction.
Several amendments were published recently and two other bills including Mike Gatto's AB9 and Reggie Jones-Sawyer's AB167 will be reviewed by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee on August 15, 2015.
Fantasy sports isn’t covered by anti-online gambling laws and the most recent state to deem it a game of skill rather than chance is Kansas. A new fantasy sports bill has already been approved by the House and the Senate and now sits on the desk of Governor Sam Brownback. It is yet to be seen is he will sign it. All states currently allow wagers on fantasy sports with the exceptions of Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Washington.
The topic on online gambling legislation was recently discussed by state senators. In fact, it was quite a hot topic indicating that it could become a reality. Representative John Payne submitted the third online gambling bill of the year, HB 649, led by him and Democratic co-chair Nick Kotik. It still has several hearings to face ahead but will likely make it to the House floor as the Senate is already willing to review it. Fingers crossed for Pennsylvania.
What’s the Status in Your Neck of the Woods?
Online gambling technology continues to move forward with Live Casinos and mobile games. It’s unfortunate that some regions are left out of a growing and thriving industry. There is money to be made by permitting online gambling but some governments are failing to see the positive aspects.
Players in any region that lacks legislation are unprotected. Do you live in a country where online gambling is restricted entirely or in part?