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State’s Rights and Internet Gambling Markets

In the United States each individual state decides its own policies on gambling. For example Nevada has legal gambling but Utah forbids all gambling. In most cases the social values of the population determines policies on gambling. People in Nevada value the vibrant economy created by legal gambling and tourism while the state of Utah imposes religious values on its population. In Europe each nation decides their own gambling policies which vary from country to country. In the UK most gambling is legal and regulated to ensure fairness and honesty. In some European countries the government is the sole provider of gambling services.

Laws do not always keep up with the latest technology. In the US internet gambling is a grey market. Despite federal laws forbidding the processing of gambling related transactions Americans wager billions every year at internet gambling sites. European governments were quick to recognize the need for internet gambling laws and several nations set up their own regulatory bodies to oversee internet gambling. In some countries government agencies take their regulatory role seriously while other nations are more concerned with keeping costs down for internet gambling operators. Scandals have been common but Americans continue to patronize offshore gambling sites in large numbers.

In the UK online bingo and gambling sites are taxed and regulated. The UK also allows offshore gaming sites to advertise if they are on the ‘white list’ of approved licensing jurisdictions. In many cases offshore gaming sites pay very low taxes giving them a competitive advantage over sites licensed in the UK. For example offshore internet bingo sites are able to offer larger bonuses and more player perks and incentives. Recently several in Parliament have proposed that offshore gaming sites be required to obtain a UK gaming license to accept wagers from UK residents.

Most European nations have acknowledged that the internet can be a legitimate supplier of gambling products and services. Some nations want to ban all gambling while other believe that a government monopoly is appropriate. In the US restrictions have created a large black market for internet gambling services. There have been several attempts in congress to legalize, tax and regulate internet gaming but all efforts have failed. Several states have announced plans to offer legal gambling services to residents. Washington D.C. plans to offer residents internet bingo, poker and other casino games early next year.  The Unites States could benefit from legal internet gambling and many experts believe that legislation will be forthcoming sometime next year.


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