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Tuesday, 10 January 2012 08:17

Online Gambling in the US

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Following the US Department of Justice’s surprise announcement late last year, there’s one story dominating the online casino blogs of the world. But when will we begin to see results?

Many casino sites thought all their Christmases had come at once when the US Department of Justice announced that they would revise its reading of the 1961 Wire Act, effectively concluding that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and the legality of all other forms of online gaming should be determined by the states themselves.

Players rejoiced, welcoming the possibility of being allowed to play online. Several companies have already taken steps towards entering or re-entering the US market, and the states have already begun the process of debating whether or not they will legalise online gambling. Nevada has already begun accepting licence applications from poker companies and New Jersey is set to vote on the issue this week.

But online casino industry experts are far from convinced. Despite the optimism that now surrounds the US issue, most pundits agree that we’re a long way from seeing casino sites operate freely within the States. Why? Even if the Wire Act is repealed, even if the states give online gambling the green light, the real issue that will eventually hold up the process is the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) passed by Congress in 2006. Simply put, Congress made it possible to hold payment processors liable for handling illegal gambling transactions. It’s the violation of this Act, not the Wire Act, that has seen the indictments of individuals and the closure of companies. Without the repeal of the UIGEA, no bank is likely to take the risk.

So it seems that although companies are enthusiastically rushing forward to offer online casino bonuses to their US audience, it could be a while before we see any real progress towards offering US players a solution.