Barack Obama Wins The US Election. What does that mean for online casinos?

Posted on November 5th, 2008

Well, now that Barack Obama has achieved what he has been promising for all of these months (how long is the process to elect the US President?), one of the interesting questions being considered, is how this will affect the online casino industry.

The Bush administration basically took the polar opposite path to the UK government on online gambling. Faced with an industry that was growing strongly thanks to demand from players and casino fans, and unable to tax an industry that was largely operating offshore, the US government took the decision to try and strangle the business at source by making it difficult for companies to mangage financial transactions online.

The UK government took an entirely different route and have moved to regulate the industry to protect casino players online with rigid guidelines and bodies set up to ensure that businesses were being run in a fair and ethical way. Many UK businesses were hurt by the US approach of course, as this is an area in which British companies excel- just think of some of the big names out there like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power who have been forced out of the US market.

So are things going to change now that Captain Bush’s watch is nearly over? Well problems in the US all started in September 2006 as a result of a piece of legislation passed by the House of Representatives and Senate (an amendment to the unrelated Safe Port Act) making transactions from banks to online gambling sites illegal. This upped the ante from a previous bill that built on the famous Wire Act.  It was sort of slipped in through the back door, if you like.

Will Barack Obama reverse the decision? Well, he may look more favorably on the regulation route given that he always talks about “change”, but this is unlikely to be his first priority and nor should it be with the financial crisis in full swing and wars being waged on 2 fronts. What the industry is hoping, is that the Barrack admistration will look at the whole situation intelligently and come to the conclusion that regulation is better than an outright ban- for consumers, casinos and the financial industry. Not only will it raise important tax revenue, but it will also enable the powers that be to ensure that their citizens are getting a fair deal and dealing with honest and ethical companies.

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