More States Pursue the Legalization of Online Gambling
In what is sure to change the landscape of the online gambling market in America, five big states are inching closer to the passing of bills that would legalize online gambling within their borders.
With the path to state-regulated online gambling already established by Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada, several more states are showing a great deal of interest in following their lead. Currently, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York are gearing up to introduce online gambling bills of their own. The stakes are big. With large states like these joining the list of legalized online gambling destinations, the future of online gambling in the US market is wide open and not without controversy.
Why the Move to Online Gambling?
Budget deficits are a primary motivation that is common to the many states that are eager to establish licensed online gambling within their borders. Online gambling is one of the few industries that has the potential to rake in hundreds of millions in tax revenue. Because of this incredible upside, many states who may not have otherwise done so, are now queuing up to get in on the action. A report that was commissioned by the state of Pennsylvania suggests that the introduction of online gambling could result in tax revenues of more than $180M within just the first year. Annual revenues are estimated to be in excess of $300M each year.
If Illinois, Pennsylvania, and California do, in fact, introduce bills to legislate online gambling, the entire landscape will change radically. To date, New Jersey, with approximately 8 million residents, is the state with the highest population to have established legalized online gambling. Combined, Pennsylvania and Illinois boast 25 million residents. California dwarfs them all with a staggering 40 million residents. The passing of bills to legalize online gambling in highly-populated states such as these would not only mean the establishment of a vital new market in the US, but could potentially rival the European markets as well.
Opposition to Online Gambling in the United States
Without question, Sheldon Adelson continues to be the most vocal opponent of the establishment of online gaming, primarily on a federal level, within the United States. Recently, Adelson has helped to create the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. This organization is funded in large part by Adelson’s personal fortune, which, ironically enough, was generated via his land-based casino operations. This substantial financial backing has allowed the group to make considerable strides in blocking any new legislation. The question will be whether or not Adelson’s arguments against establishing legal, online gambling within the US will mean as much to the states as the benefits afforded by the substantial tax revenues that hang in the balance. There’s no doubt that Adelson has managed to create real opposition, but the numbers being reported by states in which online gambling has already been legislated are very compelling and simply cannot be ignored. This is especially true at a time when local governments are desperate for additional funding.