Economies are fragile things. The ebbs and flows of the market do go up and down. No matter how much everyone in a nation wants to see an economy do well, there are factors that can drive the numbers down. If there was one truism about the economy, profitable businesses providing goods, services, employment opportunities, and tax revenue do help the government. As long as the business is a legitimate one, then the business helps and contributes to an economy. Yes, this does include online gambling. Casinos, be they brick and mortar ones or internet versions, are businesses. When they thrive, they do their small part to help the economy as well.
Online gambling is a controversial topic in the United States. There are a few reasons why this is so. Gambling is regulated on the federal and state level so simply launching online gambling endeavors is not easy. Legislatures really do have to be lobbied effectively so they can understand the huge benefits internet gaming can deliver to the economy.
Right now, the U.S. economy is a little shaky. Yes, the stock market is doing fairly well. The job numbers could be doing better and retail sales are slumping. These two reasons alone should be more than enough to nudge people into expanding online gambling opportunities in the United States.
Launching internet gambling businesses in the United States is not exactly something a casino can enact after a board meeting. In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act strictly regulated many aspects of online wagering. Credit card companies and banks are barred from processing transactions to put money into online casino accounts. All of this only affects domestic United States companies. There are businesses overseas that run casinos that cater to nations in which no restrictions exist for internet gambling. Yet, $4 billion in money funnels from the United States into these overseas businesses via a “gray market” of wagering.
All of that money is leaving the United States and being delivered to businesses in foreign nations. The economies of those nations definitely benefit from an infusion of cash. The Unites States’ economy gets nothing.
With the operation of a casino, there are taxes and licensing fees that have to be paid in order for the business to stay in operation. A casino headquartered in the United Kingdom and licensed by a gaming authority in Gibraltar is paying scores of fees (legally) to those countries. An American customer who puts money into one of the foreign casinos willing to accept them is sending money to foreign companies. Even though credit card companies and financial institutions in the USA are banned from contributing to the process, there are overseas money transfer services that American gamblers may turn.
The United States would not even have to totally legalize all forms of internet gambling to reap financial rewards. If poker – and only poker – was totally legalized in the United States, the industry would easily generate upwards of $2 billion per year. Anyone who does not believe the figure would be so high simply should look at the figures for various state lotteries. Poker would pick up many customers who have no interest in lotteries, horse racing, dog racing, casino sportsbooks, or other types of gambling they can access.
There is another angle that has to be looked at when discussing the legalization of poker gambling online. There are a lot of people who have to be drawn into the industry in order to make sure that it operates in an effective manner. Upwards of 10,000 jobs might be created in order to support an online poker industry. All of those people are earning money, saving it, spending it, and paying taxes. The economy reaps the rewards.
Again, this only refers to the money generated from poker and poker alone. What would happen if all forms of internet gambling were legalized? The United States would experience the arrival of a $12+ billion per year business. The impact of this infusion would ripple throughout the entire economy.
There is always going to be some resistance to online gambling in the United States. Not surprisingly, brick and mortar casinos definitely wish they could keep the competition out. Online gambling would lead to millions – if not billions – of dollars moving to competitors. The casino industry does lobby lawmakers to keep internet gambling on a leash.
One wonders why these casinos don’t look at the potential revenues they could make through online gambling. Surely, the casino industry in New Jersey understand this since the Atlantic City casino industry does offer restricted online gambling in the Garden State.
In time, internet gambling will eventually become a reality in the United States. Unfortunately, at the pace things are going, decades could end up passing before a player can simply fire up a computer and just start playing. There is no reason for this situation to be what it is. Perhaps the powers-that-be will eventually realize the huge economic positives associated with the industry and make online gambling fully legitimate and completely accessible to all.