The Start Of Something Big?

Following the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act in the USA in late 2006, few would be forgiven for thinking that gambling for real money at online casinos had become illegal in the USA. But the UIGEA stopped short of making the activity illegal and merely focused on imposing restrictions on banks and credit providers to police online gambling. Consequently, the decision as to whether US residents can gamble online was left to individual State regulators.

Much of the mainstream media incorrectly assumes that online gambling is illegal in the USA which is exactly what the Government would like you to think. It's not helped by the fact that slot game manufacturers such as WMS and IGT block their games to US residents. You'll notice that slot games like DaVinci Diamonds and the new IGT Star Trek slot machine here at OCV are blocked to access from the USA right now.

In 2010, news filtered through that Harrahs (since rebranded Caesar's Entertainment) had employed ex-Partygaming CEO Mitch Garber to head up their online operations division. Tasked with handling the Harrahs (CE) brand and their much coveted WSOP (World Series of Poker) product, Harrahs subsequently announced that they were teaming up with the long time estalished online gambling brand Dragonfish to deliver their products into online casinos although at this stage (Autumn 2010) who, where and what those casinos will be is still in the air.

However, there were caveats. Most notably, Harrahs are starting out by purely targetting the UK market. With the gambling laws in the US sufficiently grey and keen to ensure they protect their lucrative land gaming licences, Harrahs won't be touching the US market until it is regulated although it is worth noting that they are actively lobbying for a clear Fedral law to regulate online gambling.

But in 2012, the landscape is changing. As I write, New Jersey has already passed legislation that will ultimately allow the giants of Atlantic City to start touting their wares online and more states are set to follow. It will still be a while before we see the big Vegas casinos offering real money online play on games like Cleopatra, Zeus or the myriad of popular slots we know and love but it now seems inevitable that this will happen at some point.

Until that day, I would advise Americans to hold back from playing online unless they are already in a good place - the path is currently fraught with problems centering wround the inability to process deposits and cashouts. There are some solutions out there but they come with a bit of baggage.