The Future of Internet Bingo in the USA

Since 2006 internet bingo operators and online casinos have been forbidden from taking deposits or handling any financial transactions for American players. Despite the laws against online gambling Americans continue to play online disregarding the unpopular law much like they did during prohibition. The very legislation that was supposed to end internet gambling in the United States has had the opposite effect. Americans are an independent people who resent government intrusion into their personal lives and are not shy about voicing their displeasure.

Thanks to the ill advised online gambling law Americans have been forced to deal with internet gambling companies that are unregulated and there have been many cases of offshore gaming sites refusing to pay players in the United States. In the UK players are protected by the Gambling Commission and the ‘White List’ and in Europe online punters are protected by EU laws and regulations. In the UK the gambling commission maintains a white list of internet bingo and gaming sites that are licensed in approved jurisdictions and provide games in a fair and safe manner. Gaming sites on the White List are allowed to advertise in the UK.

Internet bingo and gaming companies in the UK and in the European Economic Area do not have to apply for white list status and are free to advertise their games without prior approval from the gambling commission. Many gaming companies located and licensed in the UK believe that the current rules give offshore gaming sites an unfair advantage since they pay no taxes in the UK. UK internet gambling operators are paying about 15% to 20% in taxes on gross profits. Offshore operations may pay as little as 1% in taxes giving them an unfair competitive advantage. There are proposals in Parliament that are designed to correct the disparity in taxation. The new rules would also require any gaming operator accepting bets in the UK to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission.

In the US several major gaming companies such as Harrah’s and Caesar’s Entertainment are lobbying for the legalization of internet gambling. American gambling operators see a very bright future for internet gambling in the US. Currently the US loses billions annually to offshore gambling sites. Many in congress would like those billions to stay in the US subject to taxation. Many in the gaming industry say that 2012 may be the year when the US finally re legalizes internet bingo and gambling.