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Greece Steps Ahead of United States in 2011 on Online Gambling

30 December 2010 by admin

Both Greece and the United States saw changes in regards to gambling in 2010. Although between the two, I think Greece has made more steps forward in gambling, especially in online gambling, than the US. And while I think Greece will continue to move forward, I have a feeling that the US will be coming to a halt on the gambling train considering that the government is turning over to mostly Republican again; the last time it was this bad was when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was created. But let’s take a look at what the two countries have done with themselves this year.

For the United States, progress on a federal level was not really seen in regards to either gambling in brick and mortar casinos or in online gambling regulation. Representative Barney Frank kept pushing forward with his bill to repeal UIGEA and set up a regulation structure for online gambling. And he did succeed in getting his bill passed in the House’s finance committee. So we will say that there were baby steps on the federal level.

But the big progressions have been made on the state level in several states. In Florida the Seminoles settled their long standing debate with legislators on whether or not their blackjack tables were legal. The Seminoles maintained that they were based on a compact struck with Governor Charlie Crist. But legislators said it was not since they, in short, had not been able to say their piece about the tables. Long story short, the Seminoles did get their blackjack tables in five of their seven casinos and a five year exclusivity on the table game to go along with, but that was not the only outcome. As a result of the Seminole negotiations the state’s long-standing $2 buy in limit on poker was lifted to no limit. Florida has now set itself up to begin pumping some revenue into its programs from the tax revenue coming as a result of its gambling law changes.

Other state level changes included Pennsylvania passing laws to allow table games. This resulted in slot machine parlors expanding into fully fledged casinos, and in new casinos being built and opened. Again, another positive result in terms of incoming tax revenue and job creation in Pennsylvania from a change in gambling laws.

Then there is New Jersey who has made some bigger waves this year, to the point that there could just be some international impact. New Jersey is moving forward with its intent to legalize online gambling and regulate it within their state. Their own citizens would be allowed to gamble and international sites would be allowed to apply for licensing to operate within New Jersey. Naturally the federal government is not entirely pleased with this, but then UIGEA did give each state its own power to say yay or nay to online gambling regulation within their own state. But if New Jersey online casinos were to accept international players, which it seems they would like to do, it would bring in the World Trade Organization and international trade issues. And Florida and California are not too far behind New Jersey in their attempts to legalize online gambling—perhaps the federal government should sit up and listen to what the states are saying.

And those are only three states who are gearing up to move forward in the world of gambling and online gambling. But while a lot of progress was made this year for states on a state level, Greece has still out stripped them by not only legalizing online gambling—which had a tighter ban than UIGEA resulting in a $4 billion a year black market—they have also repealed their ban of slot machines made by other countries. This not only puts them in line with EU laws, but also puts them in the position to generate some much needed revenue for their country to begin setting their economy right again as well as work on repaying the €110 billion bailout they received from the EU.

With all of these changes happening in 2010 it will be interesting to see if they play out in 2011 how their countries and states want them to. If the gambling and online gambling law changes play out well and the revenue is generated it is possible that other states and countries may make changes of their own to gambling. Who knows, maybe even the Republicans will have a change of steal heart and move towards regulating online gambling for the chance of generating some much-needed funds for the US.

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