Posts Tagged ‘us online gambling’

The Economist Publishes In-Depth Report on the State of Online Gambling in America

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In the latest edition of The Economist business magazine (one of the best in publication, mind you), an in-depth report and analysis offers telling insight into the US online gambling industry, including the current state of the industry in light of the UIGEA online gambling ban going into effect just a few months ago.

globalgamblingmarketH2Citing stats from 2007, the report shows just how large the global gambling market has become – $335 billion a year. With nearly half of the American population and over two-thirds of British citizens having a go at some sort of wagering, there simply is no denying a formidable demand for recreational betting in existence today.

Even in a year where monthly casino gambling revenue has steadily declined, Las Vegas still racked in over $10 billion in gambling revenues, while the gambling utopia of Asia, Macau, brought in nearly $15 billion in 2009. Add to that hundreds of millions in lottery tickets sold every week of the year, and it is still apparent that the land-based gambling industry still holds sway.

However, in an increasingly mobile world and broadening World Wide Web, the trend is one of which that will see unprecedented growth in online gambling – even despite the UIGEA. While online gambling only accounted for 8% of global gambling revenue (approximately $26 billion) in 2009, this was a growth in revenue from all previous years. So while much of the rest of the global gambling industry endures falling revenues, online gambling is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds.

globalmobilegamingH2The gambling consultancy firm, H2, reports the online gambling market is expected to grow 13% per year, bringing in revenue of $36 billion by 2012. H2 also values the global online poker market at just about $5 billion, with the United States bringing in almost a third of the revenue ($1.4 billion).

The fact is, America remains the largest single online gambling market in the world. Even with the UIGEA in effect, American continue gambling online. Where those online casino operators backed out of the market because of the UIGEA, new operators have filled the void. The scary part is that more under-regulated or even non-regulated online casinos are thriving as a result. There are still many safe and reliable places to wager online for U.S. residents, however, a lot more due diligence is required ahead of time.

The report in the Economist said it best: “Government prohibition of online gambling has worked about as well as prohibition of other online content, which is to say it is observed mainly in the breach….Americans are gambling roughly the same amount online as they did in 2006.”

July, 2010 Kicks Off Part II of EHGV’s Summer Slots Series

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The explosive booms and bright flashes in the sky can only mean one thing for Americans. Well, take that back. It could perhaps mean two things, depending on just how deep your love of internet gambling and online casino slots tournaments runs. So yes, America’s Day of Independence has certainly arrived. And so too has the second part of EHGV’s Summer Slots Series.

Now underway at our favorite EHGV online casino, Slots Galore, the month long internet slots tournament runs until July 31, 2010, and guarantees $100,000 in prize winnings. Depending on how much you play through the month and how lucky you get, you could very well be one of five-hundred leaderboard finishers to walk away with cash winnings. Not only is this a large prize poll in terms of actual guaranteed winnings, the sheer number of prize recipients is above average.

Of course, the further down the leaderboard, the less the winnings. But with a minimum of $25 for the 201st -500th finisher, that’s certainly nothing to balk at. Moving up from there, players who finish 101st-200th place will receive $50, 41st-100th will walk away with $100 and 21st-40th will be granted a cool $200 each.

To make the top twenty, however, is what it’s all about. This is where we are talking thousands of dollars for each winner. 11th-20th place will each receive $1,000, while 6th-10th will get $2,500, 4th and 5th place each get $5,000 and third place nabs a nifty $10,000. From here, it’s a big jump for the first runner-up, who will walk away with $25,000, while the top finisher pockets a generous $60,000 in winnings.

The cost to join is only $10, which will get you enough credits to have a solid go spinning the reels of the “Shaark!” video slot. It goes without saying that if you really want to stand a chance at winning, you will need to procure more credits with a $10 rebuy. It makes sense to do so, especially considering that with five rebuy’s you will gain a free entry into part three of the Summer Slots Series, taking place the entire month of August and dishing out $175,000 in guaranteed winnings. Furthermore, the biggest winner of the overall three-month tournament will receive an additional $75,000 grand prize.

And if you just can’t get enough online casino slots tournament action, Slots Galore also offers weekly tourny’s with $5 entry fee, dailies with $3 entry (all day) and $0.50 entry (45 minutes). There’s even Blackjack, Video Poker and Roulette tournaments for all you strategy-minded players. Check out the OCS Slots Galore Casino Review for more information on this top-rated U.S. facing online casino.

Charting the Waters of USA Facing Online Casinos: The Lowdown on What to Expect

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Online gambling in the USA. Take note, it’s a tricky thing. And apparently, it’s not getting less tricky. Now, before I scare you away from gambling at a U.S. facing online casino, let me just say that “tricky” doesn’t necessarily mean impossible. Nor does it mean unsafe or unfair. Let’s face it – until the U.S. government gets its act together, Americans must simply accept the fact that there are far fewer options when making a wager online.

Furthermore, the processing of funds used for online casino gambling is no easy matter either. What exactly does that mean? Well, for the most part, it means that there are fewer deposit options and that withdrawals tend to take longer to process. It also means that if you happen to not get your money, i.e. duped by an unscrupulous online casino operator, there simply is no legal recourse to get your entitled funds.

That said, U.S. residents who just have to get their gambling fix online (which I really can’t criticize considering the odds are far better online than they are at a good ‘ol American land-based casino), need to use caution when surfing the waters of U.S. facing online casinos.

Chiefly, there are three software developers that permit their online casino licensees to accept U.S. wagers. They are Real Time Gaming, Vegas Technology and Rival Gaming. The big dogs – Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic – backed out of the U.S. market a long time ago (to their chagrin), while the smaller aforementioned outfits simply left it up to individual operators to choose for themselves whether or not to pursue the lucrative U.S. market.

The only problem is that NOT all of the online casino operators using these software providers are to be trusted. Not that they are all crooks (although some very likely are), the problem is that anybody with a fair amount of money to put down can open an online casino. Whether or not they can maintain the operation of an online casino without going bankrupt is another matter.

This is what differentiates a white label online casino from…well, a non-white label online casino. Stay tuned for future blog posts here at OCS for more clarification about this and how you can arm yourself with the knowledge to make safe decisions regarding which online casinos to play and which to avoid. In the meantime, please check out our best online casinos page for a shortlist of what OCS and many players consider to be the best online casinos accepting U.S. players. We have done the due diligence researching all of these sites, and their track records speak for themselves.

U.S. Facing Online Casinos Help Players With Debit Gift Cards for Making Deposits

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
Take Your Pick! Gifts Cards for Online Casinos

Take Your Pick! Gifts Cards for Online Casinos

With the June 1st deadline to enforce the UIGEA fast approaching, many online gamblers are wondering if the “stupidest law ever passed” (thank you Barney Frank) will have an affect on their online gambling activities. In other words, folks want to know if they are going to be able to deposit money – and most especially – withdraw their winnings from their favorite USA online casinos.

Basically, once the UIGEA is mandated to go into effect on June 1st, financial institutions and transaction processors are required by law to block online gambling transactions. But hold on just a second – not every online gambling transaction. You may recall that the UIGEA is filled with carveouts that allow fantasy sports betting, horseracing, and lotteries to accept online wagers. The only problem (and this is a BIG problem) is that the UIGEA does not define “illegal online gambling”, nor does it provide for any solutions or government backing in helping filter out all of the different kinds of online gambling transactions.

The American Banking Association has itself stated that effectively enforcing this law will be nigh impossible. Furthermore, there are so many ways around traditional methods of depositing with online casinos, i.e., credit cards and eWallets like Neteller and Click2Pay, which needless to say, have already enacted measures to block online gambling transactions with U.S. citizens.

One of the most effective methods being used to deposit at online casinos are credit/debit gift cards, which are essentially prepaid debit cards. Unless the U.S. government were to ban all prepaid cards (which they certainly cannot do), this method serves as a non-descript way of making “online gambling transactions”. The way it works is that cards must first be funded – either by direct deposit of paychecks, ACH money transfers, PayPal transfers or cash reloads at participating retail locations. Once the card has been funded, they can then be used to transfer funds to online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, you name it. As for receiving withdrawals, worse case scenario is that players will have to wait a week or more to receive a certified check in the mail.

The question you must be asking yourself now is, “Where can I get a prepaid gift card?”. Truth be told, there are plenty to choose from. And quite frankly, there are likely to be plenty more spawned as the demand to circumvent traditional methods of depositing funds with internet betting sites continues. Remember, the UIGEA does not implicitly make the act of online gambling illegal. It simply prohibits the transfer of funds between financial institutions and online gambling businesses, which is carried out by the operators and not the bettors themselves.

In terms of fees, each card varies (there are plenty to choose from). Granted, some can get expensive. However, this is where your best friend Wal-Mart enters the picture. In addition to the swarming crowds of crazy people, Wal-Mart carries a comprehensive supply of prepaid cards, and also allows you to reload your card for future uses. Retail stores from drug stores to bodegas allow you to do the same. However, it’s Wal-Mart that imposes the lowest fees (around $3), while there’s no fee whatsoever if using the paycheck direct deposit method of funding your prepaid gift card. Depending on the card, a one-time activation fee and monthly fee may also apply.

The best way to go about finding a reliable prepaid debit gift card is to start a relationship with an online casino you would like to sign up with. In other words, open an account at a trustworthy online casino you know to do business with U.S. players (check out our Best USA Online Casinos page), and then contact the cashier while logged into your account. From there, they will be able to guide you on how to get your account funded. Just to name a few, some of the one’s players are frequenting include Green Dot (www.greendotonline.com), Vanilla (www.vanillavisa.com), Wired Plastic (www.wiredplastic.com), and NetSpend (www.netspend.com). These are considered some of the more affordable gift cards out there. For example, WiredPlastic has a one-time activation fee of $9.95 and monthly fee of just $3.95.

U.S. Internet Gambling Regulation & Tax Enforcement Act: The Latest Revisions

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

God Bless You Jim McDermott...You're a Damn Good Man and Politician

God Bless You Jim McDermott...You're a Damn Good Man and Politician

On the heels of a US House Committee on Ways and Means hearing this morning regarding the feasibilities of taxing online gambling in the States, it seems only fitting to shed some light on the legislation that stands the greatest chance of being passed with this end in mind.

Called the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, this bill currently sits as a companion bill to the more widely known IGREA bill (Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection Enforcement Act), penned and touted by House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

The taxation companion bill’s author, Democratic Representative, Jim McDermott of Washington State, has been steadily working hard on this piece of legislation, and announced just this year he would be reintroducing the bill with several revisions, the least of which includes tax measures to encourage online gambling operators to operate on a legal basis – “legal”, meaning according to standards imposed by reg-
ulatory laws yet to be voted on by the U.S. Congress.

Obviously, that is the least of concern for anyone who is in support of regulating online gambling. First and foremost, the IGREA must be passed in order to, in effect, overturn the vaguely worded Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act – the bill that goes into effect on June 1, 2010 and which seeks to ban most forms of online gambling, including online casinos.

McDermott’s most noteworthy revisions to his bill include a revenue incentive measure for gambling-friendly State government’s and Native American tribes. This would impart a 6% rev share on all deposits that flow through them, likely operating in similar effect to Kahnawake Gaming Commission (that is, of course, if the Kahnawake Gaming Commission actually answered to federal authorities). Another recently introduced provision includes to revenue set-asides, and would designate 25% of said revenue to directly help foster care children and 0.5% toward historic preservation of the arts.

When all is said and done, the one thing that online gambling regulation in the U.S. has going for it right now is a massive federal deficit and several State’s on the verge of bankruptcy. This is precisely where taxation policy can influence the prospects of regulating online gambling by means of generating an estimated $41 billion for the federal government in ten years time. The ball is now in the court of the House Committee on Ways and Means, where pro online gambling legislation could soon be ready for markup.

The Future of Online Casino Gambling in the United States

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Gambling. Just the word alone brings with it a lot of baggage. A controversial activity – to say the least – what makes gambling different than most other heated issues (like abortion) is the fact that just about everybody gambles, whereas not every woman has or is going to get an abortion.

Just think about it. How many people do you know with a retirement plan or IRA? How many people do you know who own a house? How many people do you know who invest in real estate, the stock market, or even a new business opportunity? Just about everyone you know, including yourself, is – directly or indirectly – participating in one form of gambling or another. The only difference between “everyday” investing and casino gambling is that the latter at least provides a form of entertainment and diversion.

Granted, not every form of gambling has the same degree of volatility, just as every casino game has it’s own volatility level. However, some of the most common forms of investing in today’s financial market are as unpredictable as the most volatile casino games. We have always been told that when you buy property and/or a house, it’s value is pretty much guaranteed to go up. Could you have every predicted the crash in the housing market, which contrary to all “safe” investment practices, have actually lost value?

I could have never imagined that when my father-in-law had to take a new job and move from Florida to Delaware that his beautiful home would not be able to sell, and that his only option would be to settle for a buyout from his company, which was way below what he originally purchased the house for. In effect, it was an unlucky wager. He couldn’t hold out any longer, just like you can’t always hold out as long as you would like to at the Blackjack table. Sometimes you have to take your losses before it’s all gone.

So, where am I going with all this (besides the obvious fact that I’m trying to prove that casino gambling is no different than most other things we do with our money)? Well, in particular, I am trying to bring some attention toward the fight to ban online gambling in the United States. I mean, really, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is one of the most hypocritical laws ever to be passed. Congressman Barney Frank said himself, “the UIGEA is the stupidest law ever passed”, which is actually more apt, considering all the benefits that would come from regulating online gabling and the harm that will come by making it illegal and attempting to enforce an impossibility.

I certainly understand the concern about underage gambling and wanting to protect minors, which truly isn’t the foremost concern of politicians who support an online gambling ban (Believe me, the politicians who have spearheaded the UIGEA, have great backing by the land-based gambling industry, which predominantly considers online gambling a threat to its own welfare. Just do a search on the foremost proponent of the UIGEA – Senator Jon Kyl – and you will find an assortment of kick-backs from the brick ‘n mortar gambling and tobacco/alcohol industries).

However, banning online gambling will not stop minors from gambling at online casinos. Online casinos, especially those being run by inscrutable crooks, will find a way – just as they do to this day – to skirt around financial roadblocks and not only take money from minors, but cheat them out of their money. Even in today’s unregulated online gambling landscape, adult U.S. citizens are frequent victims of fraud and unfair odds. Of course, there are some reputable US online casinos doing business and holding offshore regulatory credentials. However, there are also online casinos being run my the Israeli mafia and being promoted to U.S. citizens.

Now, if the U.S. government would follow suit to Great Britain, where all forms of internet betting, including online casino gambling, poker and sports betting, are being effectively regulated – meaning that at a minimum fair odds are being ensured, and that underage/problem gambling is being effectively prevented and treated – the criminals would essentially be put out of business. It’s exactly the same thing that happened with prohibition, and unless the U.S. government does not wake up and take address of its own hypocrisy, billions of dollars will be wasted, and all the while U.S. citizens – many of whom will be taken advantage of – will continue gambling online.

GOP Circulates Memo Tying Jack Abramoff with Online Gambling Interests

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

As time draws near in which either the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) begins to be enforced (as much as is possible, of course) or proposed legislation to overturn the UIGEA and regulate online casinos is passed, the Republican party is gearing up for a fight. As reported by the Washington Post, the latest “card” being played by the GOP is none other than Jack Abramoff.Recently circulated on Capitol Hill is a GOP-backed memo arguing that while Jack Abramoff’s shameful lobbying tactics and ties to Indian casinos certainly warrants the jail sentence he is currently serving, the lobbying firm that employed Abramoff, Greenberg Traurig, has itself, been employed by online gambling interests, including the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) – a leading trade body formed of the biggest names in the online gambling industry and working to get online gambling legalized in North America.

In effect, the memo seeks to assert that it was Abramoff’s employer, Greenberg Traurig, that was in on the “criminal activities” carried out by Abramoff. But even if that was the case (however unlikely), the IGC never worked with Jack Abramoff in any capacity whatsoever. Furthermore, Abramoff was fired by the firm, apparently for doing things “his way”.

What may seem an ironic strategy, considering Jack Abramoff’s association with the Republican Party, could end up being a solid argument in the GOP’s fight against online gambling, or rather, fight to protect land-based gambling interests. The only flaw to their argument, is the fact that Abramoff was acting on his own and that his activities regarding Indian casinos had nothing at all to do with the work Greenberg Traurig was doing on behalf of online gambling interests. In other words, there is no solid base for argument to claim that Abramoff was connected with all of Greenberg Traurig’s clients.

In many ways, the attempts made by the GOP to squash the legalization of online gambling are paramount the same tactics used to get the UIGEA passed. Added as a last-minute attachment to a must-pass Port Security bill with provisions to block terrorist funding, the UIGEA was passed into law unawares to many of the politicians who voted for the port security bill.

USA Online Gambling Regulatory Update: Frank’s Bills Delayed; Amendments in Mass

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Currently, there are several areas in the U.S. online gambling legislative landscape that are experiencing a major upheaval. One, of course, is the overall federal stance toward online gambling as a whole in the States. The other resides on a State level, which at this time, is primarily being soaked up by Kentucky and Massachusetts. In other words, no other two States are making as many headlines in regards to online gambling legislation.

Not that I’m sick of talking about Kentucky (okay, maybe I am), it’s just that what is happening in Massachusetts is more about legislation than the legal battle currently taking place in Kentucky. As reported earlier last week here at OCS, Massachusetts is currently seeking to expand gambling. However, certain provisions slipped into the legislation would call for an outright ban of online gambling – going so far to impose a prison sentence on those who participate in online gambling.

The latest word on the street in Massachusetts is that several alternative proposals have been given to amend the legislation, including several dealing specifically with online poker. These include a provision introduced by House Representative, Robert Nyman, to provide an exception within the online gambling ban to games of skill, including online poker. Other proposals seek to ban all forms of online gambling other than online poker.

So yes, the online poker industry definitely has their fingers in this one, folks. This is no surprise considering how big online poker has become in the US over the last ten years, not to mention the lobbying power of groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA). Just how the final bill turns out in Massachusetts is anybody’s guess, although proponents of the original bill are already claiming victory. Their belief is that the bill will easily pass the House, and will, perhaps, see some amendments in the Senate.

As for the federal debate on online gambling, it looks like Barney Frank’s bills to overturn the UIGEA and provide regulatory guidelines is being postponed for a hearing to take place in the House Financial Services Committee. By no means up for a markup (just yet), the two bills will be scheduled for a hearing in due time as the Committee tends to previously scheduled matters.

Massachusets Congressman Seeks to Criminalize Gambling at Online Casinos

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Just when you thought there couldn’t be more drama and underhanded politics in the U.S. online gambling scene, Massachusetts steps up to the plate once again. Reminiscent of the betrayal of Senator Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Massachusetts citizens could soon find themselves in a position of making another doe-doe brain political decision.

Actually, the decision would be more in the hands of Massachusetts elected officials. Unlike the election of Ted Kennedy’s replacement, the latest issue at hand involves the passing of a newly released bill calling for the illegalization of online casino gambling. What makes the issue even “hotter”, so to speak, is the fact that Speaker Robert DeLeo is attempting to fast track the bill, in effect, glossing over more controversial terms related to online gambling.

The bill primarily seeks to license two brick ‘n mortar casinos and give horseracing tracks the right to offer casino-style slot machines. However, on page 123 of the bill, there is a small, little provision calling for the imprisonment (up to two years) and/or a $25,000 fine for anyone who “knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including cellular phone, internet….”.

So yes, Congressman Robert DeLeo is attempting to not only make it illegal to gamble at online casinos, he is attempting to make it possible to punish those that choose to gamble online rather than wager at the land-based casinos he is working on behalf of. Really folks, this is hypocrisy and protectionism at its finest.

The good news is that the bill doesn’t necessarily stand a great chance at being passed. Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, unsuccessfully attempted to create three new brick ‘n mortar casinos while outlawing online gambling just a couple of years ago. Now, Patrick thinks that DeLeo’s bill should receive a proper public hearing and debate, while DeLeo is of the mindset that the bill should go forward without a vote.

Are Full Tilt’s Online Poker Days Numbered in the United States?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Is Big Brother Uncle Sam Watching Full Tilt Poker Room?

Is Big Brother Uncle Sam Watching Full Tilt Poker Room?

Yet another reason why I personally would not play online poker at Full Tilt are rumors surfacing that the U.S. facing online poker room is being investigated by the FBI. Now, Online Casino Suite cannot confirm if this is indeed true, but considering the details now surfacing, the word on the street is that there is some merit to the rumors.

The investigation is apparently going down in the State of Washington, which is one of few U.S. State’s where online poker is specifically deemed illegal. According to anonymous poker players residing in Washington, FBI agents have been doing the rounds and making literal house calls without warning to interview and gather information about these player’s real money transactions with Full Tilt.

I don’t know about you, but when the FBI starts asking questions, you can bet that something big is about to happen. And we all know that Full Tilt is indeed taking money from U.S. players. In other words, there’s no denying that Full Tilt is taking money from U.S. players. The bigger question, at least in terms of a making federal indictment, is whether or not the FBI can prove Full Tilt is allowing Washington State residents to make real money deposits.

Speculation is that the FBI is mounting a case to prove Full Tilt is breaking the law in the State of Washington, for it is essentially, an easy target with clear-cut laws that would enable authorities to conjure testimony from players that could be used in a court of law. Unlike other cases in which settlements were agreed upon, a federal indictment against Full Tilt would be a major blow to the U.S. online poker movement.

Now, as much as I have to recognize Full Tilt for their recent attempts to boost credibility via an eCOGRA certification, the fact of the matter is that Full Tilt was at the epicenter for some of the largest cheating scandals in the history of online poker. I’m sorry, but when “60 Minutes” does a critical piece on your poker room, the phrase “no publicity is bad publicity” does not hold up. This is probably what brought Full Tilt to the attention of authorities in the first place.

And as I bring attention to Full Tilt with my little blog post, I would hope that any U.S. poker players reading this – even those residing outside of Washington State, will consider the possibility that Full Tilt’s days are numbered. While that does not necessarily mean U.S. online poker players will get in trouble (in fact, it’s very improbable), it does not mean that any deposited funds risk being frozen and taken by good’ol Uncle Sam. Think carefully before you go depositing at Full Tilt.

And so as to keep this from being a totally “doomsday” post for U.S. online poker players, you might want to consider opening an account at Poker Stars or Doyle’s Room via Doyle’s online casino.

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