Back in 2006, a bill called the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” pushed online gambling companies out of the United States’ gambling market by making it impossible for banks and payment processors to handle money transfers to and from companies offering gambling services to US citizens. As a result, hundreds of gambling outlets on the internet have instantly gone out of business, and others like vegaspalmscasino.com have closed their doors in front of US-based players for good. But online gambling didn’t disappear from the US – it merely went underground. There are still many online poker rooms, casinos, and sportsbooks accepting players from the US, and the UIGEA’s restrictions are circumvented by using online electronic payment services instead of credit and debit cards.
However, online casinos and poker rooms have returned to the legal side in the US in 2013. Back in 2011, an opinion issued by the US Department of Justice has made it clear that the Federal Wire Act, signed into law in 1961, only bans the transmission of sports betting information through communication lines, and it doesn’t refer to poker and casino games online. As a result, states gained the right to regulate these activities as they please. Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey were the first to push through a new gambling regulation. The first two states regulated online poker, and the third went the whole nine yards, regulating online casinos, too.
The first licensed New Jersey online casino has been launched in 2013, followed by many more. To date, online casinos in New Jersey have generated hundreds of millions in taxes for the state, prompting other states to follow its lead. Gambling bills are in the works in several US states as we speak. Some of them, like California and New York, only consider online poker as a viable option, while others, like Pennsylvania for example, want to follow New Jersey’s lead and orient themselves toward the more profitable online casino business.
Pennsylvania’s new gambling bill represents a complete overhaul of the state’s gambling laws, covering everything from land-based to online gambling, lotteries, daily fantasy sports, and video gaming terminals. And it’s unique – it represents the biggest gambling expansion bill in modern history. For online gambling enthusiasts in the state, this new bill means that they will finally be able to play their favorite games at regulated online outlets that have well-known brands of local gambling venues behind them. According to the bill, each company with a license to operate slot machines in the state will get one online slot machine license, one online poker license, and one table game license.
Pennsylvania was only the second state to regulate online casinos but more will likely follow suit, especially if the Keystone State’s budget will show as large a positive effect of the measure as New Jersey’s. And online gambling will likely continue to spread across America once again.