Achieving wide coverage in mainstream and industry media over the past 24 hours, an Associated Press news agency report claims that up to ten more US states are considering the possibilities of legalised or expanded intrastate online gambling.
The report quotes a just-released study by gaming analyst and researcher Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance, who says that there is little chance for a nation-wide US law regulating online gambling passing through Congress due to strong opposition.
Krafcik cites as forces militating against federal legalisation the fact that this is a midterm election year where anything politically risky is unlikely to be enacted, although political and public opinion battle lines are being drawn between pro and anti-online gambling organisations.
However, on the state-by-state legalisation front, Krafcik’s assessment is that proposals for new or expanded Internet betting could be considered in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He adds that a handful of other states will consider joining Georgia, Illinois and Minnesota in permitting lottery tickets or games to be purchased or played online.
“In 2013, 10 states considered legislation that would legalize online casino-style gambling, which was a historic high,” Krafcik told AP. “This year is shaping up to be at least as busy.”
Among his predictions is one that Nevada may consider expanding its online gambling regulatory regime beyond poker.
However, for the moment Mississippi legalisation is off the table following a failure of the state legislature to act on a legalisation bill.
Krafcik says that Delaware’s slow online gambling start will persuade legislators to seek interstate player sharing compacts, a tactic that the more populous state of New Jersey may also deploy. New Jersey additionally has a bill before the Legislature seeking to allow foreign and other state bets to be accepted by Atlantic City operators .
The Associated Press report notes that Krafcik’s report reveals that Caesars Entertainment lobbied more heavily in 2013 than any other group to legalise Internet gambling at the federal level.
The Gambling Compliance report comes at a key moment as land gambling giants begin to take sides on the issue of online gambling.
Whilst many land casino operators prefer the idea of federally legalised online gambling, they are increasingly becoming resigned to the state-by-state legalisation roadmap, given the political gridlock in Congress. And the majority do not want to see a revamped Wire Act imposing a total ban, a strategy being driven hard by Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, tentatively cheered on by Wynn Resorts owner Steve Wynn recently ,
Ranged against them are the American Gaming Association, Caesars and MGM International through the new Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection, and it is unlikely that individual states would appreciate their rights trampled upon by the sort of federal ban that Adelson envisages.