The debate over online gambling in the United States has been dissected by politicians, economists, and businesspeople all over the world. Congress has been mulling over Representative Barney Frank’s bill that would legalize Internet gambling (besides sports wagering). One special interest group with a huge stake in the debate is the huge casino corporations such as Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts. The stances taken by casinos on this debate is an especially important one due to their deep pockets and strong lobbyists in Congress. Up to recently, the casinos have been opposed to any regulation of Internet gaming and experts gave the bill little chance of passing in Congress due to said oppostion. However, it seems the casinos’ opinions concerning online gambling have changed.
The epicenter of the gambling world (especially in the United States) is Las Vegas, Nevada. The casino companies located in Las Vegas have been very vocal about their objection to online gaming. Even the Senator of Nevada and Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, was opposed to the move believing it would hurt the state’s tourism industry and cost jobs. The chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Billy Vassilliadis, has gone on record as saying “People are looking at mall visits and online shopping and saying, ‘Yeah, that could be a problem.’”
The good news for poker players is that the casinos’ views towards the bill have become a lot more non-threatening. The American Gaming Association has issued a statement suggesting online gaming could be properly regulated. Wynn Resorts, once strongly opposed to online gaming, has released a most moderate outlook on Internet gambling: “Wynn Resorts monitors any legislative activity, federal or state, that pertains to our industry. We make judgments after such legislation is passed.” With support from casinos, Barney Frank’s HR 2267 has a good chance of being passed in Congress with the casinos’ huge influence in government.
The complete legalization of online gaming seems to be within arms’ reach. It is a very exciting time for all poker players as legalization would give players a selection of poker rooms to choose from. With increased competition, players can expect to see bigger bonus offers and better promotions. FlopTurnRiver will keep a close eye on any news regarding the status of online gaming.