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Big in 2010: Gambling Expansion

30 December 2010 by admin

This is the third in a series that will look back at who and what was big in the online gambling world in the year 2010.The first two parts of the Big in 2010 series can be found here and here.

If you followed gambling news in 2010, you probably noticed a trend: Some jurisdiction expanding their gambling market. Sometimes it was adding more brick and mortar casinos. Sometimes it was adding table games to slot parlors to make them full casinos. Sometimes it was allowing online gambling. Sometimes it was liberalizing the market to allow competition where there had previously existed a protected monopoly.

money-managementWhatever the type of expansion, it’s clear that gambling expansion was big in 2010. It makes sense. In 2010, economies all over the world were struggling through a bad recession. In some countries, the biggest problem was unemployment and a downturned market. Other countries were and are crushed by debt. In either case, it became necessary to increase revenue without increasing spending. Expanding gambling markets or creating new gambling markets is one way to do that.

Some governments have been morally opposed to gambling, as if somehow playing blackjack is less respectable than being a politician! Some have opposed gambling because they feel it leads to increased crime – a claim that is difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. Some feel that legalizing or expanding gambling would only lead to more problem gamblers. Whatever a government’s reason for opposing gambling, it’s a lot more difficult to stick to their principles when they need money. Therefore, strapped for cash, many governments looked to gambling expansion in 2010.

The number of jurisdictions that expanded their gambling markets is staggering, and I won’t go through the whole list here. Some notable examples occurred in the United States, where Florida allowed the Seminole tribe to offer blackjack at their tribal casinos and Pennsylvania added table games to their casinos. New Jersey and California are well on their way to regulating intrastate online gambling early next year, with bills that could be signed by the governors as soon as January.

loto-quebec-svgIn Canada, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched North America’s first online casinos. Loto Quebec quickly followed them with a second Canadian online casino. The province of Ontario plans to have an online gambling website up and running by 2012.

Europe saw considerable gambling expansion as well, as several countries came into compliance with EU rules by allowing foreign competition. France abandoned their protected gambling monopoly and allowed overseas online casinos to obtain licenses from the government. Italy did the same, opening a market that began in 2007 as a monopoly.

All of those stories and more were part of a global effort to expand access to gambling, online and offline, in 2010. Strapped for cash and forced to look at whether their current laws and regulations for gambling still make sense, many jurisdictions opted to expand gambling. For that reason, gambling expansion was big in 2010.

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