As New Jersey and several other states prepare to cash in on internet gambling a top gaming lobbyist has said it would be better for congress to pass an online gambling bill and restrict online gambling to poker. Whitaker Askew, vice president of the American Gaming Association, said that a ‘hodgepodge’ of state gambling laws could lack consumer protections and allow less than scrupulous operators to operate in the country. At an Internet gambling symposium Askew said “The federal solution is the best way of doing this.”
Most online bingo players would disagree with Askew’s stance and would be left out in the cold under federal regulations. Slots, roulette and keno players would also be excluded. Askew said his organization believes that federal law would have more stringent consumer protections. Individual state laws would create “a patchwork of rules and regulations.” Askew’s call for federal regulation came just before New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed an online gaming bill. Christie said he would sign the bill if certain modifications are made and legislators say the bill could be signed as early as March 18th.
Just before Christie’s veto Israel Posner, a casino analyst with the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, speculated that Christie may limit online gambling in the state to poker. Atlantic City casinos say that online gambling will be a lifesaver for them. Atlantic City casinos have been pressured by competition from new casinos in Pennsylvania and damage done by superstorm Sandy. Posner said poker would allow New Jersey to experiment with online gambling before offering other games which could include online bingo.
The New Jersey bill would allow players to establish accounts with Atlantic City casinos who would take wagers using servers located at the casinos. This will fulfill the constitutional requirement that limits gambling in New Jersey to Atlantic City. Nevada is issuing online poker licenses but may offer other games in the near future if things work out. Not many expect any federal action on internet gambling for some time to come. Right now congressional discussions will likely be limited to hot issues like gun control, spending cuts, and immigration reform.
For now it looks like online bingo players in the United States will have to be patient. In the meantime there are many online bingo sites that accept players from the US and offer viable funding options.