Tuesday may 20,2014 : PLENTY OF CONTENT AT EAST COAST GAMING CONGRESS
Industry experts give news and views on the development of online gambling in the United States.
The East Coast Gaming Conference, which took place this week in Atlantic City, provided the large number of delegates with a feast of interesting and useful information from some of the top movers and shakers in the business.
The general tone appeared to be that, whilst legalised and regulated internet gambling has seen a disappointingly slow start in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada, the causes had been identified and are being addressed, and there is an expectation that it will be worthwhile given time and the opportunity to develop to its full potential.
David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, revealed that his regulatory body has started taking action against illegal operators (one of the reasons for the slow start) by dispatching cease-and-desist letters to the outlaw operators.
Rebuck said that despite the current legal situation in the United States, internet gambling was taking place in 50 of those states and was not US-regulated or taxed.
California's chief regulator, Richard Schuetz, agreed, estimating that over a million people are betting illegally over the Internet in California alone, generating revenues of around $300 – $400 million without adequate consumer protection.
888 Holdings chief executive Brian Mattingley said that the results of a survey his company had commissioned showed that a mere 10 percent of New Jersey residents were aware that intrastate online gambling was now a legal pastime in the state, and more needed to be done to educate the public.
Eamonn Toland, the senior North American executive for the Irish online and land betting group Paddy Power, cited problems with credit card acceptance as a serious problem that is inhibiting growth in the online gambling market, but said he still believed the developments in the USA were the most exciting in the industry. He appealed for a faster depositing process, claiming that online players did not have the time or the inclination to spend on figuring out how to make a deposit.
Borgata CEO Tom Ballance said he was optimistic about the future of legalised online gambling, and commented on the difficulties that the launch had entailed, offering the amusing analogy that it was like: "…trying to paint an airplane while it’s flying!”
The always energetic senator from New Jersey, Ray Lesniak, grabbed the attention of delegates with his plans for New Jersey sports betting if the US Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal against the discriminatory and restrictive Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Lesniak intends to turn the federal government's legal tactics (in litigation that has so far successfully stopped the implementation of New Jersey's intrastate sports betting laws) against it.
He revealed that he is preparing a bill that will allow the private operation of sports betting at the state’s racetracks and casinos, and will introduce the measure to the state legislature in the event that the Supreme Court was unable to hear New Jersey's case.
He said that if the Supreme Court heard the case, he had no doubt that it would decide for the Garden State, but if it did not, he intended to use the federal government's own legal arguments against it, explaining that the Justice Department's rather convoluted legal position was that the federal government was not actually stopping New Jersey from adopting sports betting laws, but telling it that it is free to stop preventing such betting in terms of the PASPA.
Lesniak's description stems from the Department of Justice's legal claim last year that the PASPA is not unconstitutional and does not "commandeer" the rights of states to pass their own laws, because it merely prevents state-sponsored sports betting. But states could decide to no longer enforce the PASPA, federal attorneys argued, although they thought this might not be a good idea.
“I have legalization being drafted, and that will be introduced, to allow casinos and racetracks to have sports betting on our premises," Sen. Lesniak asserted at the conference.
"We just won’t be able to regulate it [in terms of the law]. We pushed the envelope with internet gaming, and we will push the envelope on sports betting. And we are not going to be deterred.”