US Players Need Gambling Bill

Many people have suggested that 2011 may be the year when the US will loosen its internet gambling laws and allow US citizens to dispose of their hard earned dollars as they see fit. Since the passage of draconian US laws in 2006 billions of dollars have flowed offshore to unregulated and untaxed gambling sites that continue to accept American players. There has been a recent bipartisan effort in the US House of Representatives to introduce legislation that would license and tax online gaming companies doing business in the United States. Obviously this will include bingo sites and currently thousands of Americans continue to play online bingo in spite of federal regulations.

In the UK just about every town has its own bingo hall which serves as a social center for many seniors and pensioners. Just about every pub has slot machines and most cities have at least one casino. In the UK there is little or no criminal activity associated with gambling. In contrast many US states ban gambling entirely including online gambling and electronic games. In Alabama there has been a long and drawn out court battle regarding electronic bingo. Many Europeans find it unusual that a country would ban bingo sites but allow citizens to purchase firearms easily.

Currently US law bars banks, credit card companies and online payment processors from handling gambling related transactions. Because of these regulations the law of unintended consequences has kicked in. American players at bingo sites are forced to use the services of less than scrupulous banking options and American players at bingo sites do not enjoy the protections provided to European and UK players. Americans must play at sites operating outside of US law and unfortunately there are shady operators taking advantage of the current situation.

Regulation of offshore operators would protect American players. The bingo industry is hoping that some sort of US legislation can be passed this year but many political observers are not optimistic. The current Republican majority in the House is seen as unsympathetic to online gambling including bingo sites. In fact one of the representatives that sponsored the original anti online gambling legislation now chairs the committee that would review and approve the legislation to regulate online gambling.

Licensed and regulation would put the dishonest operators out of business quickly. Legalized internet gaming would also stem the flow of billions of untaxed dollars offshore. It is time for the US to move into the 21st century and join the rest of the world in regulating and taxing online gambling.

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