Now that Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada have all legalized some forms of online gambling, more states are considering following their lead. California, Oregon, and Massachusetts may soon have regulated online gaming for their residents now that lawmakers in each state are considering their options in an effort to boost tax revenue.
Huge Potential in California
California legislators are currently working with officials from the State of California and several Indian tribes to create a bill that will legalize online poker for Californians. After this initial hurdle is cleared, Indian tribes may pursue online casino gambling as well. Analysts expect that online poker should be available by 2015.
As the most populous of the United States, California could make online gambling much more attractive to other states if it legalized the service. Although online gambling in the US is being handled on a state-by-state basis, Delaware and Nevada have already signed compacts that let their residents play at each other's sites. If California were to join in on such a compact, other states could benefit greatly from California's millions of players.
Problem Gambling a Priority in Oregon
Although Oregon state legislators are eager to find new ways to bolster revenue, the state is facing pressure from groups concerned with problem gambling. Currently, Oregon has one of the most robust lottery systems in the US, with both tickets and land-based gaming terminals available to residents. Legislators are now looking into ways to ensure that residents can gamble responsibly before they begin expanding online.
Stirrings in the Massachusetts Senate
The Massachusetts Senate is working diligently to create an online gaming solution for their constituents. Legislators are currently considering adding slot machines to the state's racecourses, as well as building casinos within Massachusetts to compete with the neighboring states of Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Representatives are being encouraged by leaders to work slowly and carefully towards the goal of online gambling in order to ensure that plenty of jobs are made available at the land-based establishments.
The National Debate
Although online gambling is beginning to expand, it is still unknown what will happen in the US in the coming years. Advocates against online gambling seem to be serious about putting an end to its expansion. Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Sands Corp., has said that he will spend "whatever it takes" to prevent online gambling from becoming a "plague" on American society. And he's not the only one: Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina have also recently voiced their opposition.
However, it's easy to see that the American public is largely eager for regulated online gambling. From the passage of the UIGEA in 2006 to the Black Friday closures in 2011, playing online has been incredibly difficult for US residents. Regulated options for players would also mean that the money they are spending on offshore sites would remain within the US economy. But for now, the only thing most Americans will be playing is the waiting game.