Status of Internet Gaming in the U.S.
With all of the recent developments in online gaming and so much to sift through, we thought it was time to give our readers our version of the Cliff’s Notes. First, there has been a lot of talk and a lot of movement toward legalizing online gaming in the United States, with much activity on the state level. Second, many land-based and online gaming firms have been partnering-up in anticipation of legalization. This blog entry is the first in a series and will briefly discuss what is happening on the state level.
The Department of Justice’s December 23 opinion opened the flood gates for states to consider online gaming, with many looking to get started with online lottery sales. Those discussing sales of lottery tickets over the Internet are Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Still other states are discussing or are in the process of legalizing other forms of online gaming: Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, California, Nevada, and Maine.
In Connecticut, where gaming is the exclusive right of Native American Tribes, those tribes have been in talks with the governor. The Tribes have stated that a new agreement with the state would be necessary to allow Internet gaming, and it is still unclear whether the state lottery or the tribes would get the rights to it. The sale of lottery tickets online is expected to come up for discussion in the upcoming legislative session.
Iowa is considering multi-state Internet poker, with legislation being considered this session. The current plan would legalize online poker games within the state and with those in other jurisdictions that have approved Internet gaming, including Washington, DC, Nevada, and possibly foreign countries. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has estimated the rake from these games to be between $13 million and $60 million annually, with the potential for $3-13 million in tax revenues annually.
New Jersey recently made news for legalizing sports betting, although the state will now have a fight with the federal government to overturn a law banning sports betting in all but 4 states. The state is currently considering legislation to allow all casinos to offer online gambling including poker, blackjack, and other casino games.
Nevada has been the most pro-active of any of the states with regard to Internet gaming. Nevada was the first state to legalize Internet gaming, with a law on the books for a decade that has not yet been implemented. Recently, the Nevada Gaming Commission wrote online gaming rules and have also adopted online poker regulations. Internet poker could go live in Nevada in as little as 9 months.
This is an exciting time for proponents of Internet gaming. No one expected the recent DOJ opinion, and its effects will be realized in the near future. How the states will react is still up in the air. Right now, nothing is certain except that the online gaming landscape will be changing and soon.
Suzanne P. Leckert
Director of Gaming, Feasibility & Land Use Analysis
email@example.com or (504)569-9239 x 33
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