Where is Federal Legislation on Online Gambling?Published November 18, 2013 by OCR Editor
New Jersey's legalization of online gambling begs the question as to when the federal government will draw up national legislation.
On November 26, 2013, New Jersey will become the most populous state to allow online gambling, following in the footsteps of Nevada and Delaware. Other states, including California, Illinois and Pennsylvania, have put the wheels into motion to follow suit. But all the piecemeal approvals of individual states leave critics wondering when federal legislation will be passed.
Online gambling had been ruled unlawful by the federal government until a decision by the Justice Department in 2011 that only sports betting was illegal. Despite the laws against online gambling, the American Gaming Association estimates that Americans spent $2.6 billion in online gambling in 2012.
However, in order for this number to grow and for America to compete in the global market, federal regulations will have to be drawn up. Chris Thom, chairman of SecureTrading, said that state-by-state regulations (as opposed to federal) will only slow down efforts to develop a competitive online gaming industry in the United States.
The American Gaming Association has also called for federal rules. "While we have long supported federal regulation versus state regulation, the most important point is that online gaming must be regulated to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of the games," said association president Geoff Freeman.
Michael Waxman of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said, "It's shocking that Congress has decided to leave in place hypocritical laws that allow some forms of online gambling activity, such as betting on horse racing, but prohibits others, like poker and bingo."