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What the 2012 Election Means for Online Gaming

After one of the longest, most expensive and bitterly fought national elections in US history, the dust is settling on a political landscape that could be quite friendly to the gaming industry.
If you’re still sorting the results, celebrating, or nursing a broken heart, here’s what you need to know about the outcome of the 2012 US elections.
Obama Re-Elected
Barrack Obama’s historic re-election, on its own, doesn’t really change the picture for the gaming industry much. After all, he already handed igaming a pretty sweet gift last year when the Department of Justice re-interpreted the Federal Wire Act of 1961, effectively legalizing online poker.
It seems as though Obama is content to let the states sort out online poker issues for themselves.
The bigger story to watch is how the DOJ handles New Jersey’s historic bid to overturn the US sports betting ban. President Obama and NJ Governor Chris Christie bridged party lines during the superstorm Sandy clean up and that could carry over into a softer line from the DOJ on sports betting.
Congress and the Senate
Neither Nevada Senator Harry Reid, nor Arizona Senator Jon Kyl were up for re-election, so expect them to continue pushing a Federal online poker bill. With Congress getting ready for a lame duck session next month, this could be a good time for them to push through this game-changing legislation.
One factor that could seriously slow down Federal progress is a groundswell of opposition from State-level lottery commissioners. Commissioners from Kentucky and Massachusetts are saying that a Federal bill tromps on state sovereignty. Keep an eye this developing story.
Legalized Vice
Speaking of states’ rights, marijuana legalization initiatives in several states could actually be good news for the online gambling industry.
Voters in both Colorado and Washington voted yes on measures legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. This is a serious challenge to Federal law that deeply challenges lawmakers’ ability to implement the voters’ will.
Anytime we see a thawing of attitudes towards vices of any kind, that’s good news for gaming. Whether they’re tired of fighting the drug war or just interested in raising tax revenues, an electorate that’s willing to legalize pot should be pretty friendly towards online poker.
How do you think last night’s election will impact the iGaming business? Share your opinion in the comments section below.