There’s no question that in 2010 the Internet casino industry enjoyed its biggest ever year in the media. With somewhere around a half-dozen separate movements in the United States to regulate online poker and gambling, from several bills at the federal level to individual legislation in states from California to New Jersey, 2010 seems to be the year that the media woke up to the online casino revolution.

The problem is, the media’s too often getting it wrong. Most media sources talk about legalizing online gambling without explaining that, as it stands, gambling on the Internet in the U.S. isn’t exactly illegal.

“All across the US, the media reported of how Reid was attempting to legalize online poker,” points out Tom Jones at “The only problem is that, according to federal laws in the US, there is nothing illegal about a person playing poker on their computer for money. What Reid was actually doing with his legislation was attempting to regulate the billion dollar industry that has existed for years.”

So how does that hurt affiliates? When players see story after story from high-profile sources ranging from The New York Times to ESPN talking about the “ban” on Internet gambling and the need to “legalize” it, that strongly implies that it’s currently illegal. And that’s not the truth: If U.S. citizens can find sites that let them gamble or play poker online, there’s no law forbidding it. The UIGEA and the Wire Act place restrictions on companies and banks, but not on players.

And it wouldn’t hurt for gambling affiliates to let their players know that. In fact, a big part of your success may just depend on it. Playing poker online is not against the law. That’s an important message for affiliates to communicate, especially considering how many media sources continue to get it wrong.

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