What’s Next For American Internet Bingo Players ?

Since the passage of the ill advised Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 internet bingo sites escaped the attention of US regulators. In April of this year the US government suddenly pounced on four major online poker sites sending the internet gaming industry into panic mode. The actions were totally unexpected and hit with lightning speed. Eleven people were indicted, four domain names were seizes and bank accounts in several countries were suddenly frozen. Players could not access their accounts and it is uncertain whether players will be able to retrieve funds in their accounts.

Shortly after the action now known as ‘Black Friday’ one major internet bingo network suspended its US operations to avoid seizures by the US government. Black Friday has had a domino effect on players, bingo sites and payment processors. In 2010-11 most major online payment processors withdrew from the US gambling market leaving players with fewer funding options. The recent actions have created major hardships for American online bingo players. Industry observers expect more bingo sites to exit the US market to avoid being targeted by the Department of Justice. Despite the laws against online gambling the US remains the world’s second largest internet bingo market. The loss of revenue from American players will probably force even more bingo sites to close for financial reasons.

Since 2006 the law remained relatively unenforced. There were a few actions taken against some online payment processors but most gaming sites operated openly without interference. Shortly after the site seizures in April the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association issued a terse statement that read “The seizure today of 10 domain names by the US Department of Justice is a troubling development in the ongoing efforts to settle the question of Internet gambling. At a time when legislators at both the state and federal level are debating whether to permit online versions of poker, casino and sports betting, the DOJ has chosen to ignore debate and to instead set a troubling precedent when it comes to Internet gambling law.”

At the present time the future is uncertain for bingo sites accepting American players. The DOJ is not talking and players and gaming operators can only speculate what the future holds. Many online gaming experts believe that legalized internet gambling is inevitable in the US. Currently several states have announced plans to offer residents legal online gambling. Hopefully legalization will come soon and players can once again play their favorite games without interference.