Friday May 18, 2012 : U.S. STATES NEED TO TAKE THE ONLINE GAMBLING INITIATIVE
Spokesman for online gambling turnkey provider says federal politicians can't even agree what day it is…
Yet another major American conference focused on internet gambling legalization Thursday, with one outspoken industry executive telling delegates: “In a Congress that can’t agree on what day it is, the thought that they’re going to agree to put casino gambling in every living room in America is ridiculous.”
Richard Bronson, a former land gambling executive who is now chairman of turnkey supplier US Digital Gaming, was addressing mainly land gambling delegates to the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City, opining that the U.S. Congress is too badly divided to act on Internet gambling; therefore individual states will start approving it on their own within the next two years.
Bronson was not the only casino and political expert to predict online gambling will become a reality on a state-by-state basis.
He and others at the conference predicted that individual states will pass their own online gambling laws. Bronson went so far as to predict that one or two states will have legalised online gambling within the next year, with New Jersey probably one of them.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak, who last year had the frustration of seeing a legalization bill overwhelmingly approved by the full New Jersey Legislature, only to have it killed by a governor's veto, told delegates the veto had been expensive for New Jersey:
“We lost a whole year and hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been coming in to our casinos in Atlantic City,” he said.
Lesniak is currently driving a similar bill through the New Jersey political system, having negotiated some provisions to get the governor onside.
Discussing the business and tax benefits of online gambling, Bronson pointed to the considerable potential of legalization in a business sense, saying:
“Forty million people visited Las Vegas last year; 40 million people visit Facebook every five days. Why wouldn’t our industry want to take advantage of the bright opportunities facing the casino industry?”
Eugene Johnson, a senior associate with the Spectrum Gaming consultancy talked about the tremendous interest in internet gambling, revealing that his company has been approached by numerous firms keen to prepare for legalization.
“I can attest to the Internet frenzy,” he said. “We’ve been involved with European operators, U.S. commercial gaming companies, Native American tribes, and state lotteries. It’s definitely a matter of when and not if. It is incredibly apparent that within a few years, state-by-state Internet gambling will become a reality in the U.S.”
Johnson described online gambling as "the wave of the future" for traditional land casino companies, with its mobile derivative having a particularly strong appeal for young gamblers – the future of the industry as they age.
"If you don’t evolve with the future, you’re going to be left behind,” he said.
Eamonn Toland, president of the European online betting firm Paddy Power North America, said: “We believe this market will open up. Whether it’s state or federal, there’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for land-based operators to partner with the online market.”