US States React to DOJ’s Change in Opinion
Play Poker » US States React to DOJ’s Change in Opinion
January 16, 2012
Though online gambling business is lucrative, it has never been able to come to the forefront in the United States. It has been estimated that Americans spend around $4 million every year to gamble illegally online.
In a recent announcement, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that the Wire Act is applicable only for sports betting. Based on this, many have interpreted that online poker and casino games don’t violate the law. According to Nevada Gaming Control Board’s chairman Mark Lipparelli, every state has questions regarding what the DOJ’s opinion actually means for games like online poker.
States like New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Illinois and California are preparing to set their stage for online poker. Nevada has already adopted online poker regulations. This was done before the announcement by the DOJ.
Approximate Number of American Gamblers Unknown
It is still unknown, how many Americans play poker online and the amount of revenue the US states can generate if online gambling is made legal. According to estimations by the American Gaming Association, about $30 billion is raised through internet gambling every year. In case online gambling legalization becomes a reality in the US, it can generate tax revenue worth $2 billion per year.
Keith Whyte States that DOJ’s Change in Opinion is Surprising
For several years, the federal government held the position that the Wire Act does not allow online gambling. The sudden change in opinion of the DOJ is a big surprise, according to National Council on Problem Gambling’s executive director, Keith Whyte.
However, the ruling does not legalize online gambling automatically. Legislation has to be passed for internet gambling to be legalized in the US.
The ruling is also unclear on whether online gambling is allowed within a state’s boundaries only or across boundaries as well. An online gambling expert stated that the DOJ’s decision implies that all forms of intra-state online gambling is legal in the US. However, the uncertainty is a reason for worry for Lipparelli. He stated that the Congress should make its position clear on the Wire Act.
American Gaming Association Supports Lipparelli’s Concerns
The American Gaming Association supports Lipparelli concerns over the federal law’s stance on internet gambling. According to the body, it is high time that the federal law curbs the operation of illegal sites and adopts regulations for online gambling.