Internet Gambling Legal Drive Making Big Media Splash
April 22, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – After slowly building for the past few years, the online gambling legalization push is finally making a big splash in the media. Sure, this isn’t the first time the story has hit the mainstream, but now, it seems to be popping up everywhere. And that’s probably going to help ongoing online gambling regulatory efforts like those proposed by Barney Frank and Jim McDermott.
The biggest focus on this new attention comes at the state level, as more and more states work on legalizing and regulating (and, of course, taxing) Internet gambling to make money off the revenue (which could amount to billions of dollars, according to this report).
“The disparity between state policy and the actions of DoJ officials is humorous, but unsurprising,” Political commentary site OpposingView.com says, pointing out the fact that many states are working to further regulate online gambling even as the U.S. Department of Justice continues to target online gambling sites like Full Tilt Poker. “States are so reliant on gambling revenue that they encourage its expansion even as the federal government seeks to limit it.”
Yes, revenue is almost always the focus of these articles. “Internet poker gambling is illegal, but millions of Americans play it anyway,” writes Joanna Dodder Nellans at Arizona’s Prescott Daily Courier. “Internet poker supporters say that, since prohibition hasn’t worked, it should be legal. The non-profit Poker Players Alliance estimates that 15 million people in this country now bet through offshore Internet sites.”
Of course, there’s the recent situation in Massachusetts, where a bill seeking to expand gambling has recently been amended to possibly include Internet poker, and in New Hampshire, where the governor has openly considered legalizing online gambling in order to reap the tax revenues.
And there’s California, where the movement to regulate online poker is more advanced (and complicated) than in most other states. Here, a good deal of space has been dedicated to debating the topic. Most observers favor online gambling regulation; in a nicely argued editorial posted at the San Bernardino Sun, former legislator Terry Goggin writes that online gambling is a “victimless crime” and that the UIGEA should be overturned immediately.
“Essentially this provision eliminates the ability for millions of Americans to enjoy the game of poker from the comfort of their homes,” Goggin writes. “Additionally, it tosses out the ability to provide consumer protection to individuals who engage in online play and eliminates the ability for governments to raise much needed tax revenue. Most importantly, it eliminates freedom.” These thoughts echo CAP News’ recent articles that the UIGEA harms the U.S. public by failing to regulate a popular industry, as well as denying the public potentially thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenues.
In Nevada, Harrah’s is working hard to get online gambling legalized in the U.S., and in the process, its UK partner, 888, is currently a hot discussion topic in the local papers as state regulators review the site. “It is the first time Nevada gaming regulators have been asked to investigate the suitability of an online gaming company that took wagers from American gamblers before the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006,” writes Howard Stutz.
But that’s not all. In Florida, recent efforts to regulate gambling in the state have included online casino debates, bringing the debate over online gambling on a national level to the pages of the popular Miami Herald. Hopefully, new laws would quickly put a stop to the pointless and no doubt expensive Internet café raids carried out in that state, which are trying to stamp out “illegal” online gambling. (Such raids have hit the news recently in Massachusetts, as well.)
Legalization of video poker is also on the political table in Pennsylvania, where, additionally, the state’s largest newspaper is itself getting into the online betting business. Maybe for that reason, online gambling is a hot topic in the Keystone State, as this recent profile of online poker pro Howard Lederer helps to illustrate.
At The State Column, an interesting analysis can be found of the other non-online gambling legislation currently underway in other states like South Carolina, Alabama, and Missouri.
On top of all this, current rumors are circulating that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may soon be introducing a brand new online gambling bill.
What’s all this add up to? For starters, it may mean that new laws legalizing online gambling come sooner rather than later (although there’s been a frustrating lack of progress so far). Secondly, it means that online gambling is getting a lot of free media attention — good news for online casino affiliate marketers who know how to capitalize on free publicity.