The Future of the US Casino Industry is Online

Posted on May 25th, 2011

With all the recent developments in the US market, where more poker domains have been seized by the DOJ (Department of Justice) including Doyle’s Room, it’s easy to start thinking that it’s game over for online gambling in the US. In contrast to here in the UK, where online gambling is regulated and legal, in the US it is illegal to facilitate transactions for online gambling (well, it’s a grey area, but that is the prevailing view).
But it’s our view that this is another round of jostling in the eventual regulation and legalisation of online gambling in the States. It’s almost unthinkable that the country that has done so much to develop the Internet, and that boasts most of the biggest and most valuable tech companies on the planet, and that has such a rich history of enjoying poker and casino games, bingo and sports betting (gambling is ingrained into the USA DNA for heaven’s sake- a nation of risk takers that dates all the way back to the early pioneers on the continent), won’t at some point merge their tech skills and power with their expertise in gaming.
Las Vegas has suffered as a result of the downturn and there’s a new gambling capital called Macau that’s new on the block. Internet gambling is the future of the US casino industry, whether it’s approved at the federal or state level.
A New Jersey lawmaker predicted there will be a referendum next year asking state residents whether to amend the state Constitution to allow Internet gambling. With the tax take down, who’d bet against a positive result?
The Internet gives the US  gambling industry its best opportunity for growth. More than 10 million people currently play online poker. The numbers are already big in the US.
The potential annual revenue from legalized Internet gambling in the U.S. has been estimated at around $80 billion. That’s no small number for a country which turns sheepishly every year to China to feed its ravenous appetite for debt.
Many predict that individual states will approve online gambling soon. Then the federal law will follow.
New Jersey was on the cusp of becoming the first state in the US to approve Internet gambling within its borders. But Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have allowed it. Christie suggested if New Jersey legislators are serious about allowing Internet gambling, they should table a proposed Constitutional amendment before the voters and let them decide. A cop out? Or a way through?
Banning gambling online is doomed to failure- there are just too many holes in the bucket. So we expect the US to open up at some stage. When? Well, that is the million dollar question. I’d say it’ll move very slowly and then suddenly very quickly.
If I was a betting man, I say we’d see online gambling at State level in 2013 and at a national level in 2014-2015. Watch this space.

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