Internet Gambling – Part 2, What Is Internet Gambling’s Future

Online gambling received a big boost in 2011 with a U.S. Department of Justice legal opinion that said the Wire Act of 1961 did not prevent states from using the Internet to sell lottery tickets. The ruling was interpreted to also allow other forms of gambling, but not on sports.  Enter in the new age of online gambling.

A Las Vegas firm, Ultimate Gaming, was the first in the U.S. to offer online poker, restricting it, at first, to players in Nevada. New Jersey and Delaware followed suit also legalizing online gambling. (Delaware has been experiencing the same decline in revenue at their racinos that the CT casinos have in recent years) Ten other states have considered some form of Internet gambling so far this year, but none has legalized it yet.

In New Jersey, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has said it is preparing to offer online gambling later this year, and Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, has also said he expects his company’s four Atlantic City casinos to grab a large share of New Jersey’s online market. New Jersey will offer people within the state all the games patrons can play in physical casinos. Delaware will do the same, along with bingo. Nevada only offers poker.

The newest addition is the initiative of Nevada & Delaware to combine it’s online gaming so that people in Nevada can gamble on Delaware sites and vice versa.  If this continues, we may continue a broad expanse of internet gambling in groups of states across the country.

“It’s no longer a question of if Internet gaming is coming; it’s a question of when,” said Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, the trade organization for the nation’s commercial brick-and -mortar casinos. “Unless there is a federal bill passed, we are going to have the greatest expansion of legalized gambling in the United States. I don’t think that’s what anyone intended, but it is what we’re seeing.”

“You’re not going to stop the Internet,” said Jan Jones, senior vice president of government relations for Caesars Entertainment. “You can regulate it, you can put in protections, but it’s going to exist.”

In New England,  a proposed Internet betting law in Massachusetts would prohibit online slot machine games, but could open up to other games, mainly poker.

In Connecticut, Foxwoods is testing the concept of online gambling with a platform for smart phones and computers that allows a player to win discounts at the casino. It doesn’t actually let you wager cash online, which is not legal In Connecticut at this point, but players can spend $4.90 to $199 to buy “virtual credits” that help the player advance in the games. Those credits can become reward points for merchandise at Foxwoods retail stores, restaurants, spas, theaters or hotel.  Mohegan Sun offers online Poker, a free online poker site where you can find regular games of Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi-Lo and many more multi-table online poker tournaments.

What it comes down to is two constants: 1)people like to gamble and 2)gambling options continue to evolve. In the 60’s, slot machines were included for the few spouses that accompanied their husbands to play table games  – then they became the main source of revenue.  The early slot machines had coins only and when TITO was introduced (Ticket-In,Ticket-Out)  people complained about the missing the coins hit the tray.  But people continued to play and now prefer TITO instead of dirty hands and long waits for hopper fills – those are now is a thing of the past.

As Avery Cardoza, a well-known and respected publisher of gambling books and articles recently said, “People love to gamble. Even if they think they’re being cheated, they’ll still gamble. It’s not about winning, it’s about playing.”

The internet in the next frontier for gamblers playing. Let’s see what is the next step in gaming evolution.

That’s all for now.