Online Gambling has been available in many forms. Online casinos first started in the early 1990’s with software made for Microgaming. Forms of online gaming included Poker, Full Casinos, complete with table games as well as slots, Sports betting, Bingo, Lotteries & Horse betting.
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) went into effect in the United States. This led to a huge amount of confusion regar ding the legality of not only internet poker, but also online gambling in general within the US. Many poker and other online gambling sites either were forced to shut down or closed their doors, at least to US players.
According to the FBI’s own website, “It’s against the law,” says Leslie Bryant, head of the FBI’s Cyber Crime Fraud unit at FBI Headquarters. That means:
…No placing cyber bets on sporting events or in virtual card games;
…No transferring money electronically for gambling; and
…No wagers in offshore Internet casinos even if you live in the U.S.
What’s allowed, according to the FBI? Some free online games, fantasy leagues, and Indian gaming sites that aren’t strictly defined as Internet gambling.
Which brings us to the new found treasure for state gaming revenue – Daily Fantasy Sports.
Steve Ruddock, well known writer, author and poker player says the best candidates in the northeast to add online gaming are Massachusetts and New York, but there is one other that could position itself to pass an online gaming bill (in 2016, or more likely 2017) if the stars align – Connecticut.
First, let’s talk Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts state lottery has wasted no time getting its online gambling plans into gear by inviting interested organisations to “…submit proposals for the development, implementation, operational support, and maintenance of a Massachusetts Lottery iLottery System … and the development and integration of digital versions of existing and new interactive lottery games, including but not limited to social gaming and daily fantasy sports options.”
Massachusetts Lottery also discussed the possibility of offering its own DFS product, enabling the lottery to access the “next generation” players in an attempt to generate new sources of revenue. Yes, the millenials are a sought after generation, that younger audience adept at using mobile devices and who are extremely excited by sports-related fantasies.
Massachusetts is the state where DraftKings is headquartered and it was confirmed that attorney general Maura Healey has laid out regulations that will govern the DFS industry from a consumer protection standpoint. But, DFS is gaining momentum in states all over the country. Why not in Massachusetts?
And Connecticut? Mr. Ruddock explains……
“First, the state’s two tribal casinos are fighting for their lives as casino expansion has hit warp speed in the surrounding states (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York). This is on top of the previous round of expansion that already took a big chunk out of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun’s revenue numbers. According to Foxwoods estimates, the opening of the Massachusetts and New York casinos could result in a 30% drop in Foxwood’s revenue, which has already dropped from a high of $430 million (slot handle) in 2007 to $268 million in 2015.
The current idea to combat this is with satellite casinos, but this seems like a fool’s errand, particularly when a non-cannibalistic, and less costly option is sitting right under their noses in online gambling. iGaming is something both sites (on the social, free-to-play side of things) already have experience with.
Second, the legislature has pretty much told the two tribes to come to them when they are ready to expand into online gaming, according to Foxwoods Director of Administration for Interactive Gaming Frank Pracukowski. He said the state has told Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, “When you’re ready [for online gaming] you come to us,” at the 2015 C5 Online Gaming Conference in New York City. Bottom line: If Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun don’t disrupt the increasingly crowded regional market, they may find themselves squeezed out, as neither casino is overly accessible from major cities or airports, and will soon be relegated to the “old” casino category.”
Could Massachusetts and Connecticut create another battle ground with online gaming in step with their brick-and-mortar casino expansion competition? Don’t be surprised if Rhode Island follows suit….multiple puns intended?