Augusta Free Press

Will other states follow Virginia in legalizing casino gaming?

The concept of online casinos and their legality in the US is a complex and non-straightforward issue. Whilst on a federal level it seems that it is legal, there are many contradictory laws, loopholes and other issues that arise on a state level. In a nutshell- there is no federal law against it so by default it is legal, however due to conservative rules in states such as Hawaii and Utah, it is possible to be in breach of state law and federal law by using online casinos, but prosecutions are few and far between.

Whilst there is no doubt that America has a lot of work to do regarding the clarification of its gambling laws, some states are paving the way by implementing specific legislation that seeks to do just that. Virginia is an example as they have recently passed legislation that specifically refers to the legal status of online gambling such as fantasy games, popular online casinos like 888casino, slots, and live video games- meaning it can legally compete with land gaming. The question on everyone’s lips is, following this news, will other states follow Virginia in legalising casino gaming?

Virginia was the first US state to formally create laws that clarified the legality of online and remote gaming back in 2016 and since winning a lengthy legal battle in the courts they have been a part of creating a robust legal framework that protects operators, players, and members of the public equally. One of the lawyers involved in this process has stated that he believes this will pave the way for other states to consider implementing similar processes and laws in a bid to legalize the industry.

The reason for the illegality around gambling stems from religious tradition and morals, historical issues, and incorrect perceptions of how the gambling industry is regulated. The truth of the matter is that in this day and age and with iGaming being one of the biggest technology led industries in the world- these states are missing out on fantastic opportunities to increase their tax revenue, boost their economies, and even create jobs. Gambling is a completely different kettle of fish to what it was 20, 50, or 100 years ago and the fact is that it is highly regulated, highly legislated, carefully monitored, safe, and secure method of accessing online entertainment. The big operators and service providers have too much at risk to allow any sort of funny business to go on and every care is taken to protect them, the players, and their reputation.

Nowadays, most reputable online casinos also aid and deterrents for those that might be suffering from gambling addiction or other related issues. They have a cap on the amount you can bet, limits on withdrawals and what you can put it, and offer support to those who display an unusual, or particularly worrying pattern when it comes to playing and placing bets. These types of safety nets are not often available in land casinos and they also bring other risks that are not applicable online.

As often happens in politics in any part of the world, if the price is right, then politicians will almost always change their minds when it comes to deregulating or legalizing certain things. I believe that the online gambling industry will be a clear example of this. Once the lawmakers see he financial and economic potential of the iGaming sector, they are sure to want a piece of the pie. At present they are passing up billions of dollars in taxes, registration fees, operation fees, and also potentially denying their constituents the right to new jobs. Look at countries like Malta, Sweden, and the Isle of Mann in the UK. These countries have extremely popular iGaming centric economies that pump billions into the local economy, employ thousands of people, and even in the case of Malta, contributes between 10%-12% of the GDP. Not only should online gambling be legalized because the reasons for it being illegal are archaic and old fashioned, but it should be legalized because it is a fantastic business and commerce opportunity that is just too good to be missed.