Online Gambling: States Wager The Fed Will Fold

29 November 2012

As we head into lame duck season, it seems less and less likely federal regulation of online gambling will make the cut on Capitol Hill’s already loaded docket. With the looming fiscal cliff and other heavily-weighted issues, it appears Congress has bigger fish to fry.

Some states, meanwhile, refuse to sit on their hands. Or potential revenue.

Whether the push toward the legalization of online gambling is to protect constituents who gamble on international gaming sites or to drive individual state revenues, either way, several states are attempting to drive the legislation home.

It’s important to note that most of the states considering legal online gambling will have an uphill battle themselves; of the seven states wanting to jump on the revenue wagon, only one–Delaware–has managed to authorize some form of it. Even the American Gaming Association doesn’t believe a state-by-state solution is the answer. In fact, according to the Washington Times, the AGA supports the draft bill from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, that would make all online gambling illegal, except for online poker, which is widely recognized as a game of skill vs a game of chance.

As states consider gambling revenue outside lottery tickets, debates are warming up around the country about gambling in general. The state of Maryland recently approved the addition of table games to its existing casinos by popular vote; the vote also approved adding another brick-and-mortar casino to its ranks, likely in the vicinity of its new National Harbor landscape.

Supporters of a federal bill will have to use all of their lucky charms if they want to see something happen during the lame-duck session. As it is, we could be in for a year of a boom of state-regulated gambling growth.

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