Posts Tagged ‘gambling laws for US players’

Current state of North American Gambling Law

For the past 4 years, ever since a prominent UK Gaming CEO was arrested in the US, the law concerning internet gaming in both the US and Canada has been in a state of flux. Due to a gaming “clause” snuck into a security Port bill by Bush’s Republicans, incredible pressure was put on the banking systems particularly Visa to conform. The action that the banks were ordered to take over the next 36 months was to stop allowing transactions coded as gaming from being processed through any US based banks. 

There are as many opinions as there are those holding them concerning the real reasons behind the “so called” gambling ban. We are calling it so called because with the exception of a few states like Utah, there actually isn’t a gambling ban per se. What the port bill addendum did was to crack down on the banking system that underpins online gaming finance. When I first heard about this port bill, like many others I was baffled.

“Port Bill? What was or what is that?”, many thousands of us asked. Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. Its drafted legistlation regarding security of America’s ports ( think ships and entry points ). So,  back to the point, what does a Port Bill have to do with gaming law? The truth is nothing but once this addendum regarding gaming was tacked on and pushed quickly through a senate that was unprepared, it was law irrespective of whether the proper channels were used.

So, here we are 3 almost 4 years later and what other than the overt stoppage of credit card usage has been accomplished?

– Many US players are pretending to be Canadian
– Most US online players are playing quite naturally underground
– UK Whitelisted sites have given up/sold their US customer lists
– Poker is twice the size pre Port Bill, most would agree that its simply thriving
– Each year more Vegas based Sports Betting moves to Costa Rica
– Estimated annual value of the worldwide online gambling industry, now up to $20 Billion
– Nothing to do with online gambling but Macau finally overtakes Vegas as the worlds largest gaming hub
-And my favorite – Vegas has had 3 more glorious years to figure out how to jump on the online gaming bandwagon.

Ok, so all of that is old. Let’s look at what’s new.

Calvin Eyre admits on a nationally televised and syndicated TV show that he has sold his [Billion Dollar] gaming interests to the Kawanakee group at the Mohawk Indian reserve just outside of Montreal.

British Columbia admitted it couldn’t stop the hundreds of millions of dollars going overseas and in a rare show of unity simply  approved online gaming – once its done at their own online facility ( No, we are not going to tell you the name, lol ). Thus becoming the first province/state in North America to legalize gambling.

Then on August 7th the Ontario Government admits that it too might follow British Columbia’s lead as the “…US and other jurisdictions are eyeing the payoff from legalized online gaming.”
Provincial Premier, Dalton McGinty admits, “… in a perfect world Ontario would have not had to rely on gambling revenue at all, but he acknowledges the government needs the cash.

In the meantime, on the US front, on August 10th it was reported that Representative Barney Frank is now closer to bringing his online gambling legislation before the entire House, after picking up his seventieth co-sponsor for the bill. Rep. John Campbell who  signed on at the end of July.

The past couple of weeks have been good for online gamblers in the US. First, Rep. Frank held a hearing on H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act in which representatives both for and against the legislation spoke.

The biggest concern however is that with both republican and democratic support required and it being so close to elections, many necessary representatives who might ordinarily support the bill may be squeamish of putting their name to something that could be used against them in upcoming months.

If the bill eventually passes the House, it will still need the support of the Senate before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is officially overturned. What Bush’s team sneakily attached to that Port Security Bill nearly 4 years ago is going to take the support of the full Senate to overturn.

However, Canadian Provinces breaking their historical lockstep movement with US law in a bid for closing doors on the hundreds of millions flowing outward is going to put even more fiscal pressure on the US Legislators to do something to stem the leak of billions in tax revenue.