There had been hope for some years in the US that states would eventually legalize partial or full gambling online. Real-cash bingo is considered part of that group, so it likewise was hoped that bingo would go legal in the US also. The Federal law had ended up with a loophole, within a telecommunications law, in the 21st Century.
Obama has not prosecuted when states moved to legalize online gambling (Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada) to bolster their existing land-based gambling. Precedence was starting to form. The opposition obviously went into action.
New Twists and Turns
That’s the basic story. Until March 2014, things looked to be proceeding in New Jersey swimmingly, for instance, as it granted licenses to casinos and conglomerates, and in turn those casinos made consulting deals with European casino experts.
But in March, a anti-gambling bill was introduced for voting in Congress. There are powerful land-based casino tycoons interested in the passage of this bill, for obvious reasons.
It seems that the bingo community may be unfairly trapped in a battle that belongs to the casino industry. Do you think that any perceived or real dangers from real-cash bingo are the same as those for online gambling like Poker or slots?
Sad as it sounds, we now have less hope in regulated for-cash bingo gaming in the US, for the time being. We’ll just track the status of this bill, and the counter-defense by Congresspeople from Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.
There are reasons to believe that if this anti-online-casino bill passes into law (mainly by the zeal of the opposition to gambling) then pro-gambling states like Nevada would not be able to continue with their idiosyncratic laws.
The opposition to gambling is a moral bunch, and morality is often all or nothing. In that setting, of black or white, do you think there is much hope that the hardliners will be able to tell the difference between bingo’s relatively low-stakes action and full-blown gambling?
Worst Case Scenario
Let’s say the hole stack of cards falls, and any real-cash games of chance including bingo are banned. People will still play either free ‘casual’ bingo on Facebook, or, they may start to play at innovative new sites that have found their own loopholes.
An example is Luckity.com, which is run by the same organization that stages the Kentucky Derby horse-races. Luckity has great bingo, and whenever a player buys a card, a bet on a real horse is made for that card. Therefore, bingo players get a chance at racing’s wins (and they grow large in the case of underdog horses who win).
Other light, free games like bingo are getting tethered to sweepstakes incentives, which are legal. Sites like GSN have found that this provides excitement for sponsored prizes while avoiding the whole ‘gambling’ business.