In light of the recent events surrounding online gambling in America, whether it is casino poker sports betting or bingo we are again being asked the million dollar question, is it illegal for me to gamble online if I live in the USA?
The answer we give is the same as it has always been although now our position has been backed up by the U.S. Government. The Bill that supposedly made it illegal in 2006 did not in fact make it illegal for you to play at all but instead made it it illegal for America banks to process gaming transactions. This in itself was ineffective as many of the gambling companies did not use American banks anyway.
It absolutely did not make it an offense for an individual to play at an online casino or poker site. Given this glaring hole in the legislation even the banks fought back claiming they should not be put in the position of policing online gambling. At the same time Sen. Barney Frank was preparing a bill to make the ban obsolete and instead do the right thing and regulate the online gambling industry.
The important timelines here are Friday 27th November 2009, Tuesday 1st December and Thursday 3rd December.
Tuesday 1st December is the day the UIEGA Gambling ban was to come into force. This was to be 2 days before Sen Barney Frank was to have his Regulation Bill heard by committee on Thursday the 3rd December.
On Friday 27th November however something happened, the U.S. Government postponed the enforcement of the Gambling Ban by six months until the 1st June 2010. This can only to be to allow the correct approach of regulation and allowing Barney Franks bill to be sent through the channels.
To look at it pragmatically everyone involved knows that online gambling in America will be legalized, regulated and taxed within the next 18 months so why put any further pressure on an already stretched banking system for something that will be overturned in such a short time? It appears that common sense has prevailed and the road is now open for the legalization of online gambling in the United States of America.
This of course was the only course of action open to the U.S. Government and was inevitable. The question this leaves is where do the big Las Vegas casinos go from here? As we have previously written the likes of MGM and Las Vegas Sands have not been exactly proactive in their move towards readiness for the coming legalization.
All we can say is that our door is always open should they need any advice.