Changing gambling laws in the USA pave way for a seamless integration of gaming and gambling notions.
Gaming and gambling are moving closer together at record speeds. If a couple of years ago poker was considered to be gambling, now it’s a whole different story. All the Facebook games and other mobile applications are merging the two concepts.
American gambling laws are finally changing for the better, well, at least in the direction of more freedom for gamblers. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are leading the pack, already having legalized gambling, but more states are bound to follow.
However, the expansion of gambling in USA doesn’t only mean more states. The boundaries between traditional video and recreational games and hard-core casino gambling offerings are blending. It looks like the makers of today’s social mobile games will be busying themselves with creating future mobile casinos in the United States.
It’s not like it has never been tried. Zynga is the first company coming to mind, when we’re talking about social gaming. They have launched a real-money online casino – in the United Kingdom in 2012. The Zynga Plus Casino was created in partnership with bwin.party.
Naturally, Zynga had a more difficult task of breaking through to the US real-money gambling market. With all the restrictions and complications, it has faced in the US, Zynga has abandoned plans to accept Americans a couple of months after the UK casino was launched.
What are the obstacles in the US
The biggest problem, which Zynga and anyone else wishing to open real-money online casinos in the United States, is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. The act is basically banning companies from offering online sportsbooks, poker sites, and other real-money games of chance to Americans.
Gaming and gambling are on the way to merge
• Less restrictive American gambling laws will allow gaming to merge with gambling
• Future gamers can expect a comprehensive experience
• UIEGA is still in the way, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel
When the UIGEA was passed it has effectively ended almost 10-years of endless profits in US online gambling industry. The biggest names of the decade were Bodog, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and others. The Black Friday events have clearly shown that US federal authorities are serious about prosecuting under UIGEA.
Multiple court rulings of money laundering and bank frauds after Black Friday can seem unusual against online gambling sites. However, digging deeper we will see that UIGEA is primarily about the financial transactions to and from gambling, with less focus on the gambling activity itself.
Check out the quote from UIGEA: it “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
Is there any hope in these draconian law conditions? Sure thing. The UIGEA is not applicable within the states where gambling has already been legalized or will be legalized in the near future. However, this brings another complication. All companies that with to operate legal online gambling business must do so entirely within the given state borders. UIGEA still prohibits transferring money for gambling purposes across US state lines.
Current and future state of gambling in the USA
At the present time all states except Utah and Hawaii do allow gambling in one form or another. There are 20 states allowing commercial casinos, and around 500 casinos operating. The biggest concentration is of course Las Vegas.
Should more states allow gambling, the present operators will certainly go for time and money of potential gamers. Online casinos will be the easiest way to reach gamers, and combining these with social gambling concepts will be the most seamless way imaginable.
Nevada Gaming Commission has already approved the use of prepaid card for slot machines. Since the biggest Nevada operators are present in other states and countries, they will definitely be pushing to allow the use of these cards throughout their properties. Current laws don’t allow it, but the benefits, including tax money for the federal coffers, are obvious.
Online gambling in the USA
Online gambling innovation in the States can be most easily seen in Nevada for now, but other states, especially the fresh ones which allowed online gambling, will definitely be following suit. New Jersey is pushing hard to catch up to the Silver State, especially since Atlantic City isn’t doing so well.
Raymond Lesniak, New Jersey Senator has already introduced plans to shift legislation and allow online gambling to residents from outside the Garden State. As for the New Jersey itself, online gambling is doing great ever since it has been legalized. Only in January this year there have been over 200,000 new online accounts and close to $10 million in revenues.
And then there’s the interstate online poker experiments. Nevada and Delaware have already signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement providing residents of both states to play online poker at sites operated within both states. Although there are currently no such American poker rooms, the legislation is there and it’s only a question of time.
Why is online gambling so lucrative
When Delaware-Nevada deal brings in revenues, other states will surely jump on the bandwagon. The revenues from online gambling are just too big to resist. Worldwide figures put online casino revenues at excess of $32 billion a year. And according to recent research, mobile gambling revenues will reach $100 billion figure by 2017. And that’s just mobile revenues.
Once more states allow online gambling in the USA, it’s only natural that mobile gambling industry will want its piece of the pie. Zynga, King, and other giants of mobile gaming will definitely not be hiding in the bushes. The best way for them to go is enter partnerships with state companies, and supply software for future online/mobile casinos.
These companies are already building up infrastructure now. And with more states opening up their online gambling doors, UIEGA will have to give way, and that’s when mobile gaming will merge with mobile gambling for an all-in-one comprehensive experience.