How best to describe casino affiliate marketing in the United States? Do American casino affiliates operate in a happy grey area, largely unregulated and barely taxed by the authorities, offering offshore online casino services at no real risk?
Or is that grey area not so happy, leaving casino affiliates vulnerable to unseen legal risks stemming from the UIGEA and the Wire Act? Would it be best to get the industry regulated quickly, even if it means losing some international casino affiliate brands, at least temporarily?
Whichever opinion you hold, on thing seems certain, based on the growing focus on the issue by lawmakers and the media: The situation will change, probably in 2011, almost certainly by 2012 — for better or for worse.
Just witness the surge of media interested in online gaming regulations this year alone. While some of that coverage may have been misleading, and not exactly good for online poker’s reputation, there’s no doubt that it’s also helped boost the popularity of online gambling, and that should be a positive for casino affiliates.
Even now, with Harry Reid’s plan to regulate online poker this year stalled, some prominent voices in the media are still calling for online gambling regulations.
“Nearly half a century ago, the Internet wasn’t even a glint in technology’s eye, and during the last 15 years regulators and legislators have looked the other way while online gambling was allowed to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry,” explains John Brokopp at the Herald-News (a division of the Chicago Sun-Times). “Whereas persuasive arguments can be made against betting on pure games of chance online, poker requires an element of skill.”
“Gambling is a normal human pursuit like any other, and it’s time to bring it out of the shadows,” opine Reuven Brenner and Gabrielle A. Brenner at Forbes.com, who go on to lay out a fascinating historical list of precedents of gambling’s wringfully outlawed status throughout the years.
“There is little evidence to support the concerns expressed by the federal nannies opposing internet gambling,” adds Bob Barr, former Georgia politician and staunch conservative. “The number of ‘problem gamblers’ has remained relatively low over the last few decades, despite the prevalence and availability of online-gaming primarily overseas.”