Internet Gambling Could Help Cash Strapped States

Many cash strapped states are trying to find ways to expand commerce and fill empty state coffers. Some states are considering expanding state lotteries by offering residents internet gambling. In 2011 Illinois and New York received word from the Justice department that as long as online gambling does not involve sportsbetting online gambling would not violate the 1961 Wire Act. Several states took notice of this decision and have made plans to provide residents with various online games.

Over at the libertarian blog of the Reason Foundation writers have pointed out the advantages of internet gambling. Libertarians are generally opposed to government interference in many areas and believe that American citizens have the right to spend their money as they see fit. For low end players online gambling provides a better value for casual players. Writer Steven Titch pointed out that legalized online gambling would create a demand for high paying IT jobs and could help stem the exit of highly trained IT graduates to other parts of the country. Titch also said it would create a pro-business climate that would attract internet entrepreneurs and start-ups increasing the number of available jobs.

Internet gambling could also be a major revenue generator for state governments and would enable states to adequately fund programs that benefit residents. Jeff Danielson, president pro tempore of the Iowa state Senate, stated “$30 million leaving the state economy is a problem.” He went on to say, β€œIt’s an e-commerce issue. If Iowa has to compete, we have to come to grips with the fact it [Internet gambling] can be done safely and securely.” Any discussion of internet gambling generates controversy from citizenry and special interest groups. The Reason Foundation believes that internet gambling will create a win-win-win regulatory environments for consumers, operators and individual state governments.

Consumers are best served when there is competition and regulation and licensing requirements should take this into consideration. For example Nevada has already issued several interactive gaming licenses. States are also free to offer a variety of games such as internet bingo, table and casino games. Proposed federal legislation would only legalize poker and would leave all other games illegal. Many states plan to offer online games through state lotteries that would operate gaming websites. If industry figures are any indication the amount of revenues states could take in from internet gambling could help to solve budget shortfalls.