New Jersey was the first American state to legalize online casinos after almost a decade of effective prohibition. The industry was pushed out of the US (and many operators out of existence) by one of the last laws signed by George W. Bush in 2006. The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) prohibited banks from processing payments to and from online gambling operators, leaving players with no options but either to use expensive web wallets to make payments and receive their winnings or to give up on their online gaming habits and go to a land-based casino instead. Online casino games returned to the US four years ago, when the first legal New Jersey online casino opened its virtual gates – and since then, it has proven to have been a great bet for the players and the state alike. This year alone, the numerous online casinos of the state have generated around $100 million of tax revenues for the state.
With so many budget stints – and seeing the example of New Jersey – many other states are now considering to legalize not only online casino games and poker rooms but sports betting as well. States like Pennsylvania, California, New York, Illinois, West Virginia, and several others are considering the introduction of bills that would regulate the industry, cashing in on licensing fees in the short term and taxes in the long run.
How does it work in the rest of the world
Europe is the birthplace of online gambling and the region with one of the most liberal policies toward it. Online casino operators are free to offer the biggest online casino promotions and specials to their players, along with as big a game library as they like, as long as they have a valid license. Don’t think these licenses are permissive, though. The Vegas Palms Casino, for example, operates under a license issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), known for being a very strict one, especially when it comes to customer protection, security, and privacy. And the MGA’s license is not even accepted by some regulated markets in the EU – there are countries with even tougher regulations in place (and their own licensing fees). Thus, even international casino groups like the Vegas Palms are restricted from offering their services to certain markets in Europe.
Liberal, in this case, doesn’t mean free. It only means freer.
Legal online gambling in the US?
Even though online gambling has many opponents in the US, it also has many supporters. More and more states are expected to follow New Jersey’s example and regulate rather than ban online gambling. The progress will be slow, but it will ultimately happen.