iGambling Legislation a Good Foil Against Black MarketeersMarch 17, 2017 1:18 pm
During the first quarter of 2017, a total of seven states have put forward proposals seeking to set up regulated online gambling markets, namely California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Of course, no iGaming bill has passed since Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey pioneered the way back in 2013, but with online gambling revenues totalling more than $200 million in 2016, or 5% of the overall casino market, there may be increasingly more incentive for other states to secure a slice of the market.
The latest state to consider online gambling legislation is West Virginia, which on March 14th introduced a new bill at a time when its land-based gaming revenues have been falling sharply. As an extract of HB 3067 explains; the purpose of the bill is “to authorize Internet gaming managed and licensed through existing authorized gaming facilities in West Virginia.”
While legislators are now likely to spend endless amounts of time and money discussing the pros and cons of online gambling, and its social implications, the truth of the matter is that regardless of their decision people will continue to gamble over the internet using unregulated, unlicensed international websites.
In other words, states are really faced with the decision of whether to set up legitimately run online gambling industries that can then produce tax revenues for the state, or simply allow all the money to flow out to black marketeers. Furthermore, they can help protect consumers from websites such as Full Flush Poker, which last September went offline owing its players more than $2 million in funds.
Unfortunately, while the decision should be quite straightforward, it would take a brave person to bet that individual states will ultimately decide to take a more practical approach to the issue, rather than debating the topic ad nauseam, before eventually voting their respective bills down in their State Legislatures.