Before major changes to US online gambling laws, I use to dig playing virtual pool on WorldWinner.com (now pogo games, I think) for a buck or two a game, and my grandma loved playing online bingo.
Once controlled by a very restrictive set of laws, the gambling industry is now taking advantage new found willingness of legislators to ease regulations limiting legal gambling. This past Tuesday New Jersey legislators signed a law which legalizes internet betting within its states borders. The main target of this proposal is for online poker to become a revenue source for the state which already competes with Nevada in regards to the gambling industry.
Other states such as Delaware are rumored to follow suit and also legalize internet gaming very soon. This proposition has been debated over the past few months and some of the main factors that have helped motivate politicians have been the increase in money put towards gambling habits, increased tax revenue, and also investments in state run companies and brick and mortar businesses. Some online casinos, such as Poker Stars, have already made offers to buy failing Atlantic City casinos to gain a foot hold in the state.
New Jersey hopes that this will bring in increased tourism revenue as more people come to the state to partake in the new, more flexible laws. One can’t stop to think that governor is also looking to bring more full-time poker players to the state to live permanently as in today’s world many skilled players have begun to treat their online poker skills as full-time money earning machine.
NPR covered the story recently in this interview. This interview contains some very informative information on the future of online gaming, the challenges these companies face, and how these new laws will impact the general public looking to engage in online gaming.
Many of the online poker companies that are looking to be the first to get started are hoping that within a couple of years regulations will allow for players from outside states to sign up and participate in some form of online gaming. With a growing trend in online games such as Keno, new formats of bingo type games, (my grandma would of loved these) and other slot type games have a larger appeal than online poker and could bring a lot of revenue for states with failing budgets.
There are many questions about how federal laws will impact these new laws as many contradict with these new state regulations. With approximately $175 million dollars on the line it is a safe bet that states will be fighting hard to maintain these new laws in place. One has to ponder that the social impact may be more detrimental to the state residents wellbeing, however in states such as New Jersey that are still suffering the after effects of hurricane sandy it’s understandable that the new increase in tax dollars will be well spent.
As companies start to advertise more aggressively in these states and start to target citizens we will very soon see how big of an impact each individual company makes.
It seems to me that online gambling / gaming industry will be making a comeback (not that it ever completely died) over the next few years. Financial analysts seem to be on the same wavelength, with industry stocks rising after the New Jersey bill passed.
I’m jumping on the bandwagon and hoping to start some sort of website to capitalize on the boom. Still in the brainstorming stage, but stay tuned. :)