US Gambling Sites, Laws and Predictions
The Ever Changing US Gambling Laws
My authority to write on this subject is that I’ve watched and blogged about US gambling on a Federal and State level for more than 3 years. Including, receiving advice from authority figures and lawyers such as Gambling Law Professors, Poker Players Alliance Board Members and various industry experts and online gambling site operators. By 2010 my personal blog at Compatiblepoker.com/us-poker-sites recieved over 18,000,000 page views from industry analysts including the PPA, iii.co.uk (an investors forum) countless twoplustwo references from moderators and attention from people I’d rather not mention!
So Much To Cover to Get You Up to Speed
Where should I start. It feels like a decade ago that the UIGEA passed and at this point is long forgotten by most online gamblers. In fact I’m willing to bet if you did a poll and surveyed current online gamblers they wouldn’t even know what the UIGEA is. The lifespan of a player is only 1 year and the UIGEA happened 3 years ago at article time. For those aware, we know the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act caused billions of dollars of damages to gambling sites around the world.
So what exactly is the law. Its very simple, the legislation made it so that processing unlawful gambling transactions was illegal. Lucky for poker players and casino gamblers, the term “Unlawful” only applies to sportsbetting thus there is a huge problem with the way the law were intended but in actuality it can’t be enforced, except for the Sports gambling industry. Poker players are safe and so are casino bettors, so US gambling sites continue to thrive and by thrive I mean make 100’s of billions of dollars.
What Should Americans Expect
While this is a dead question because of such a controversial subject that is gambling, we can expect to see gambling laws to overturn the UIGEA continue to fail. I’ve predicted a minimum of a decade for a couple years now, while lobbying organizations continue to hype up the word “soon”. While this is in good faith, they are really doing it to increase morale and more importantly to them, lobbying dollars.
As a poker player you will see, and probably have already seen credit cards clip out loopholes that allow gambling transactions to be processed. Currently a large majority of gamblers can still use credit cards to deposit because of an “uncoding” and “recoding” tactic. If it’s recoded as retail transaction how is a credit card company to know it’s actually to be used for gambling? Sportsbetting sites have been doing this for years which is why sites like Bodog and Pokerstars are billion dollar sportsbetting sites gaining most of their money from US punters.
Future Predictions for US Gambling Sites
US gambling sites will continue to operate offshore as the status quo remains the same, with deposit methods getting harder and harder for US players once the UIGEA is in full affect. You will see mergers of smaller poker sites and casinos and also the joining of what is known as “network skins” to increase player liquidity.
Also, more specifically while I don’t predict a US Federal Gambling law to pass anytime while I’m still young(ish), I do see specific states opening up online poker rooms for players located in their state, most notable Florida and California. Will poker players jump at the chance? Probably not, at least not the ones who can deposit successfully at offshore sites. The player volume at a state run casino just can’t compete compared to a global level that offshore gambling sites have the comfort of having.
If Federal Gambling is Legalized
This is a HUGE IF. As I said, tens years would be my minimum but in reality that’s being optimistic. If it never happens in my lifetime I will not be surprised but if it does happen this is what I foresee. It will be one mass merger with poker site to poker site and US land based casino to online casinos. Why? Not only is it a perfect match but it just makes logical sense. Gambling affiliates will be hit hard as they will lose out on most of their revenue share deals but commissions will continue to be high and future opportunities will arise for the adaptive.
Gamblers won’t gamble as much as you’d think. At first there will be a large interest as poker advertisements get the word out but I think it will eventually be exhausted and the consumer will be overloaded. Tight restrictions will be put in place on how advertisers can promote via television and so on.
In the end, nobody knows the answer. We can only draw some sort of conclusion from past events and hope to get a piece of the pie once the flood gates open.