Is the US on the Way to Legalizing Online Gambling in 2021?
Online gambling, or internet gambling, has been defined as an act of gambling, wagering, or betting on the internet. In recent years, this general term has been divided into different niche facets such as sports betting, e-sports betting, Fantasy sports betting, and casino-style gambling. As such, the term today includes the many variations of online poker, casino games such as Roulette, Slots, and many others as well as sports betting. The online gambling industry has come a very long way since the first online venue was opened in 1994 and is responsible for generating billions in revenue each year. However, many countries have either banned or restricted online gambling practices. The USA as well as a few other countries has slowly begun to launch legalized industries but how far from full legalization in the United States?
United States: Outlook
The road to the legalization of online gambling in the US has been a long and complicated one. The Federal Wire Act was revisited as early as 2002 where the United States Court of Appeals ruled that the Act prohibits the transmission of information across electronic lines for sports betting purposes, with the verdict later being amended to include games of chance. The biggest breakthrough for the online gambling industry took place in recent years where the advent of the internet in conjunction with the increase of premium online betting operators has led to billions being spent on internet gambling in the country each year. New Jersey was the first state outside of Nevada to offer legal sports betting, followed closely by Pennsylvania. To date, over 15 states now allow sports betting, the most recent being Virginia and Michigan. There is currently no federal law against placing wagers online, which means that there are little to no consequences, but American residents need to be wary of placing wagers on sites that are located in the United States, which is similar to the situation in New Zealand. Sites that are based and operated outside of the United States have received a license from relevant licensing bodies to ensure that their offers are legal and regulated. However, in an attempt to curb the gambling activity of American residents, American banking institutions have refused to accept transactions from online gambling operators or to process deposit transactions to them. As a result of this many International gambling sites decided to stop servicing American gamblers.
Canada: Current Situation
Canada has taken a unique approach to its online gambling industry. While the country allows land-based operators based in Canada to service Canadian residents, the law stipulates that online casino operators based outside of Canada cannot provide virtual gaming opportunities to residents of the country. This has caused a great deal of confusion, but it is worth noting that making use of legit online casinos licenced by international authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority or the UKGC in Canada is by no means illegal. Canucks need to ensure that they are playing on international casino sites with the proper licensing and regulations. There are currently no laws that prohibit internet gambling for citizens which means that there are no consequences for residents of Canada who would like to try their luck. Land-based gambling, including horse racing, has been approved in Canada.
Other Countries Worldwide: India
India is perhaps one of the most volatile destinations for online gambling with the murkiest of waters. The Public Gaming Act of 1867 has been upheld for more than one hunded years and is still firmly in place today. The act does not only prohibit online gambling but land-based gambling as well. The Indian government has tried to decrease the interest that citizens show in gambling for many years and have yet to be successful. It is not only illegal to be caught gambling in India, but it is also illegal to operate or own a gambling house. As a result of this, Indian nationals have taken to international casinos and gambling sites to participate in the popular pasttime. In recent months, the Indian government has been cracking down on individuals who are caught placing wagers on international and illegal gambling sites by issuing hefty fines, and even sanctioning jail time, in the event of multiple offenses. There are regions in India that have fought for their right to operate land-based casinos such as Sikkim and Goa, even so, placing a wager in India is still generally considered to be risky business.
The American gambling industry has grown in leaps in bounds in recent years. Eleven, and counting, states have gone live with a niche form of this industry, sports betting, since 2018. Operators have been given licenses in a few key states, such as New Jersey that is leading the gambling industry in the country, to operate online poker sites. The financial pressures felt by the US this year combined with the continued success of the sports betting industry is likely to highlight the benefits of having a fully legalized and regulated gambling industry in the United States. It is expected that the next few years will see a few changes to the legislature to make room for this lucrative pasttime.