Online Gambling-States vs. Feds

Washington DC was on track to address its budget problems in 2010 when the district planned to implement a legal online gambling program. Unfortunately due to contract problems the nation’s capital must start from scratch. A city council subcommittee repealed the gambling legislation. Washington DC’s gambling program has had its critics from the beginning. They contend that the online gambling measure was slipped into a 2010 budget bill. Despite the repeal in DC gaming experts say that legal online gambling is inevitable in the United States. Millions of Americans gamble online illegally and are eagerly awaiting a legal online gambling outlet in the US. Currently Nevada, New York, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey have gambling legislation in the works. This week the New Jersey online gambling advanced out of a committee and will be presented before the full legislature during the next legislative session. New Jersey Governor Christie has indicated he will sign the bill.

Many experts say that a fierce fight over online gambling is brewing between the state and federal governments. One DC councilman claims that large casino interests have teamed up with congress to take the right to implement online gambling laws away from the states. Congress is considering legislation that would make state-based online gambling illegal and federal based online gambling legal. Currently there is also proposed legislation that would make online poker legal at the federal level. Unfortunately other games such as online bingo and other casino games would remain illegal under the proposed legislation.

DC Councilman Michael A. Brown, an independent, accused casino interests of being behind the repeal of DC’s online gambling program. Brown stated “I believe that casinos have now reared their head in our city.” Brown also told reporters that online gambling “will be federalized and we won’t get any of the revenue.” When asked which gambling corporations were behind the repeal of DC’s gambling law Brown said “I don’t know. I’m not sure.” Industry experts that believe casino interests were behind DC’s repeal of gambling laws say that economics are behind the move by casino interests. The gaming industry would find it much easier and cheaper to deal with one let of lawmakers than 50 individual state legislatures. State by state legalization could lead of a hodge podge of 50 individual sets of state regulations. Most experts say that there will be no action on any online gambling legislation until after the presidential elections in November of this year. In the meantime millions of Americans continue to spend billions at offshore gaming sites.

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