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Economic Trouble in Las Vegas Could Change Online Gambling Business in US

October 8, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – It’s a sign of how mainstream the discussion over whether to legalize and regulate Internet gambling in the United States has become that a group of news stories this week about how Las Vegas is still struggling with the recession has fired up the debate all over again. (Although, that still doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be any changes to the laws this year.)

“The nation’s gambling capital is staggering under a confluence of economic forces that has sent Las Vegas into what officials describe as its deepest economic rut since casinos first began rising in the desert here in the 1940s,” writes Adam Nagourney for the New York Times.

“The potential challenge from the Internet is a reminder of just how much the playing field has changed for Las Vegas over the past generation: with states sponsoring weekly lotteries and legalized gambling permitted in many cities and Indian reservations,” Nagourney continues.

Meanwhile, “the move by casinos to open the door to online gambling could bring a powerful new lobbying force into Congressional debate,” writes Barry Meier in another New York Times article.

“Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, might also be rethinking his opposition to Internet gambling. A spokesman for Mr. Reid said he was still reviewing the Internet issue and had not decided. Last month, The Reno Gazette Journal reported that several operators of smaller casinos in Nevada had left a meeting with Mr. Reid, a former state gambling regulator, with the impression that he was prepared to support a bill legalizing online poker.”

All this points to likely changes for online gambling laws in the U.S. — eventually. Although it’s unlikely that any laws will pass this year, casino industry leaders are increasingly trying to make up for lost revenue in land-based casinos by helping new iGaming legislation pass. And if this route proves successful, look for any new laws to make way for bigger, dominant casino brands online like Harrah’s — that’s likely to entirely transform the online casino affiliate marketing industry in the United States.