In Silicon Valley the tech industry has set its sights on internet gambling. Silicon Valley game developers believe that internet gambling will be the next multi-billion dollar industry similar to the dot com boom of the 90’s and early 21st century. Developers throughout the industry are turning casual and social games into real money gambling games. Currently the games are played overseas thanks to puritanical gaming laws in the United States. Social networking sites like Facebook and game developers like Zynga has launched games in the UK which has a mature and highly regulated internet gambling market.
The UK and European game releases have been highly successful but game developers and social networking sites have their eye on the biggest prize of all: the US online gaming market. Currently Americans spend billions annually at offshore websites. Companies that want to eventually enter the US gaming market avoid violating US laws and usually block players from the United States. A clean record puts companies in a good position to obtain a gaming license once internet gaming is legalized in the US.
In 2011 the justice department issued an opinion that cleared the way for legal intrastate internet gambling. This week Nevada became the first state to legalize online gaming and is issuing licenses to online gaming companies. Several major Las Vegas casinos have applied for online gaming licenses. The state of Delaware is seeking bids from companies to establish a framework for internet gaming in the state. New Jersey will probably legalize online gaming next week.
The legalization process has been slow and online gambling has some very powerful opponents. Many in the casino industry are opposed to online gambling. Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is a fierce foe of online gambling but then Adelson has a history of backing losing causes. Social conservatives are doing their usual whining about ‘morality’ and gambling as a ‘tax on the poor.’ Opponents have not discouraged Silicon Valley. Most companies believe that in the very near future online gambling will be as simple as shopping on the internet or streaming a movie. It will also attract a new generation of tech savvy players.
For now most states plan to limit online gaming to poker. If poker is successful some states plan to add additional games like online bingo, keno, slots and other casino and table games. Internet gambling could easily produce the next crop of Silicon Valley billionaires.