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With varying state laws on gambling, it can be hard to keep up with the facts about online gambling, let alone where you can play. While interest has grown in online casinos and bingo sites over the last few years, it has not all been good interest.
For every player looking to make the transition from a bingo hall to online bingo site, there is a person concerned over responsible gambling and the effect of online gambling on a person. This has led to much heated debates both state by state and nationally over online gambling and whether it should be legal or completely prohibited in the USA.
Of course it’s not just the voices of the concerned public that are taken into account here – the relatively new concept of online gambling takes into account political, financial, technical and legal challenges which all must be considered. Of course there are state gambling rules for land-based casinos and bingo halls, but in the relative scope of the internet, things are more hazy. Politicians must debate the concept in order to impose firm rules surrounding online gambling – will there be taxes involved? How can state laws ensure online casinos meet minimum gambling age requirements and ensure they promote responsible gambling? Would casino and bingo operators from outside the US be allowed to operate within the country? Is a special license required?
This is of course just a sample of the questions asked when taking into consideration the legalities and regulations over online gambling in the USA. One state which is still uncertain over its gambling future is New Jersey. Some bingo operators and casinos have gone bust, however there are rules in place which aim to protect land based operators in light of an online gambling explosion. To operate an online casino site in New Jersey, operators must partner with a land based casino in Atlantic City in order to be granted a license.
However, sometimes laws can do more harm to the market than good, in the case of the new UK gambling legislation which has come into force recently. The legislation was set up to ensure all bingo (and other gambling) operators serving people in the UK had a license to operate in the UK, no matter where the operator is based. Following on from this, a point of consumption tax is to be introduced shortly, which will also mean that overseas operators are liable to pay a 15% tax on all profits generated by their UK players. While the laws are great news for the government and potentially economy in the UK, it has an adverse effect on online bingo as a whole, with many small operators, including some Microgaming brands pulling out of the country and restricting not only the European market, but the likelihood of having EU-wide legislation on gambling.
Closer to home, bingo sites are still closing all over the place. Only in September 2014, gambling operators John and Mike Yates announced all of their bingo sites would be closing imminently due to their bankruptcy. Sites like Big Time Bingo, Bingo Palace, Onlinebingo.com and BingoSC have all closed with players unlikely to ever receive the remaining funds that were in their accounts. There were also rumors suggesting that the sites didn’t adhere to Fair Gaming Policy.
As operators try to float in this boom-or-bust market, whilst others get away with breaking the limited rules there are, it definitely seems like the future of online gambling in the USA is far from stable.