UNITED STATES—Online gambling was predicted a few years back to be a major boon to the gambling industry, supplementing lost income in places like Atlantic City, New Jersey, where more than half of recently built casinos closed within a short time of opening. Instead, the predicted $5 billion dollar industry of online gambling in the US has hit some choppy waters, with some predictions for its success being cut by 50% to 10%, depending on which financial forecaster you ask.
Still, with online casinos, people are getting their gambling fix some else besides real life betting and gaming institutions while companies simultaneously find ways to monetise without investing in expensive legislation to fight legalising brick and mortar casinos. The money is clearly there as online betting in the US is still turning a profit:
- Since 2013, New Jersey put up a profit to the tune of $122 million in its first twelve months of operating
- In the fiscal year of 2014, Delaware has earned $1.4 million
- Nevada has also seen profitable outcomes from its legalisation of online gambling, but that figure which is unpublished likely pales in comparison to the $11 billion it rakes in in the nation’s largest gambling market
Market Projected to Grow
Despite the disappointing start which took some of the wind out of the sales of advocates of online gambling, both on the legislative side as well as the business side, new online casinos are popping up all over the place like newcasinosonline.co. In addition, making international headlines as the world’s biggest internet gambling site for poker, PokerStars, is projected to expand the market when it comes into New Jersey at the beginning of this year. Seeing as this is the most popular form of internet gambling of any kind – taking into account sports betting and other digitised versions of popular parlour games – there is good reason to believe optimistically that this will lead to good changes for the otherwise stagnantly growing market.
Other reasons that the introduction to online gambling saw some pitfalls in the early going were due to more logistical concerns that seem to be on their way to being worked out. Some people could not fund their accounts through major monetary institutions like PayPal or through major credit card companies like MasterCard or Visa. That has changed to the tune of a higher than 62% approval rate for both card companies, but for it to really break mainstream ground, that figure will have to be in the 80% to 90% range to really avoid giving customers unsolicited headaches.
Future Potential Obstacles
Some members of Congress in the United States are making news by apparently still having not seen the green light, the writing on the wall, that online gambling is the future. Influential figures in American politics such as Sheldon Adelson, a conservative billionaire agenda-pusher who happens to have made his fortune as a casino mogul, are unsurprisingly not on board with the convenience and all the bonuses being offered by online casinos as they threaten his business model. Still, other politicians hide behind the cover of the moral imperative of not corrupting the nation’s youth from gambling’s insidious influence. Clearly, even they do not understand the scope of how much money there is to be made, or they would follow their own conservative and libertarian instincts: letting the free hand of the market speak!
While the federal laws regarding gambling remain in a legal zone for a number of different reasons (not unlike cannabis decriminalisation), the legal and consumer ground for placing bets online (provided they are not sports bets) should be solid. Now, we collectively hold our breath to see when the common sense legislation will come around that allows legal online gambling in more than three states.
By Mel Jumelle