Taking a Chance: The Future of Online Gambling Regulation in the U.S.

It was only two years ago that a few states launched major online gambling sites. Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey all brought gambling to our browser. Since then, however, online gambling in the United States came to an abrupt stop. All 50 states have currently refrained from passing a bill to legalize online gambling, poker, or other casino games. Congress has been urging the Federal government to back them up in continuing the ban, and to get the Restoration of America's Wire Act bill passed. Despite this situation, there are many reasons indicating that online gambling could become legal in the United States. If the states pass a bill to legalize gambling, then we can get back online and improve our poker skills. Blackjack and other gambling games have been a large part of our society, yet their presence online is in question. Online gambling presents a very controversial issue in the United States. Many people are radically opposed to it, claiming that the game can cause the loss of thousand or millions of dollars and ruin lives. On the other hand, many people believe that individuals have the right to choose whether or not they want to gamble, and it is not up to the government to decide. One way or another, there will be changes in 2016. Here a few things to keep in mind when thinking about the future of online gambling.

1. Online Gambling is Inevitable

While it might seem very slow, gambling has seen an increase in users in the US. Not to mention, less that four years have passed since the OLC opinion regarding the Wire Act allowed individual states the chance to consider passing online gambling bills. At that time, there were in fact three states who chose to allow gambling. In fact, Nevada had already been preparing an online gambling bill prior to the opinion. Both New Jersey and Delaware had expedited bills. Including California, these four states represent the forefront of the pro-online-gambling movement in the US. Most state legislatures have only recently considered online gambling to be an issue. Because of this, state will have to spend lots of time getting their lawyers in the loop and updated on the ongoing issues, and will take time to craft the proposal bill and explain the pros and cons. The bottom line is that this will take some time. The way that it has been panning out, there will be multiple state the pass an online gambling bill prior to 2020. It's not soon, but it's happening. While three states currently have legalized online gambling industries, there are multiple other stays who are considering following suit.

2. Federal Legislation Probably won't happen

Politicians often have strong opinions on online gambling. Whether you are for online gambling or opposed to it, the notion that Congress would realistically unite and pass a vote is not probable. There have been many advocates for anti-gambling agendas, including Sheldon Adelson. Adelson's online gambling ban, called "RAWA," was effectively disabled. It is unlikely that it will be revisited. Federal legislation will most likely not play a big role. Due to a decision made by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel in 2011, states now have the autonomy to choose for themselves without interference from Federal law. Because of the delay in passing a state budget, it is still possible for a gambling bill to be passed before 2016. In 2016, however, it is much more likely.

3. Changing Agenda

Before, online gambling was seen as being another source of revenue. Now this is not the case. Online gambling can be used in a variety of different ways, as casinos are quickly realizing. People are learning new ways to utilize online gambling beyond merely direct revenue. Also, the fact that there is significant investment pouring in shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the industry. In addition, there are various TV shows and specials that are broadcasting poker and gambling. These sources of media are helping to build the hype. This year, Poker Central was created. This is a TV channel that will soon be dedicated 24/7 to poker. One thing that many people haven't considered is Pennsylvania. This is the newest development of states that look to pass a bill on online gambling. The idea is that if Pennsylania were to permit online gambling down the road then other states would follow as well. If Pennsylvania cannot pass an online gambling bill then the tides may change. In that case, a state might not launch an online gambling business until 2017 or 2020.