iDEA Group Backs US Online Gaming Legalization Efforts

The iDevelopment and Economic Association [iDEA] formed this month to back online gambling legalization efforts throughout the United States. IDEA is an industry group of like-minded gaming companies, including some of the biggest names in land-based casinos and online gambling.

After three states first legalized online gambling in statewide initiatives in 2012 and 2013, financial institutions and gaming analysts predicted that dozens of U.S. states would have legal US online poker and casinos sites by 2020.

Despite those predictions, no U.S. state legalized online gambling in the past four years. Local opposition stopped legalization efforts in California, New York, Pennsylvania, and a number of other states. The forces opposing gaming regulations are better-funded and better-organized than online gambling proponents most of the time.

Nearly Two Dozen Gaming Companies

To change the trend, over twenty gaming companies formed the iDevelopment and Economic Association. Atlantic City casinos like Tropicana, Golden Nugget, and Resorts Casino joined iDEA. Online payment processors like PaySafe and Vantiv joined the association, too. So did online gaming software suppliers like Amaya, Paddy Power / Betfair, Gamesys, and International Game Technology (IGT).

IDEA plans to publish studies and opinion pieces on all gambling topics, because these resources provide useful statistics and talking points for advocates of online gambling. IDEA’s opinion pieces hopefully will mold public opinion on the issues, to help lawmakers pass pro-gambling bills.

IDEA Supports All Legal Online Gambling

IDEA has no favorites when it comes to online gambling. The association backs online casinos, poker sites, bingo halls, lotto ticket sales, and sportsbooks. Much of the effort is to highlight the benefits of regulated online gaming sites.

For instance, the story of New Jersey’s online casino and poker rollout received a lot of bad press. Gov. Chris Christie’s prediction that New Jersey online gambling would generate $1 billion in action each year gave the rollout’s critics a lot of ammunition.  The benefits of NJ online gambling were not a focus of coverage. Stories are more positive in 2017, but iDEA decided coverage still is not optimal.

To counter the ongoing narrative that regulated online gambling is bad, iDEA funded a study by industry experts to highlight the success New Jersey’s iGaming industry has been.

iDevelopment and Economic Association

Dr. Alan Meister of Nathan Associates Inc. and Gene Johnson of Victor-Strategies released “Economic Impact of New Jersey Online Gaming: Lessons Learned”. The executive summary provides analytics for the New Jersey online gambling industry from its launch in November 2013 until March 2017.

For instance, New Jersey’s online gambling industry generated $124.4 million in tax revenues for New Jersey. The industry created 3,374 jobs and funded $218.9 million in salary for gaming employees since 2013. In all, the $998.3 million generated in a little over 3 years saved New Jersey taxpayers nearly $1 billion. While that falls short of Christie’s prognostication, it is still impressive and helpful.

The study showed that New Jersey produced results with no increase in money laundering, fraud, corruption, cheating, or underage gambling. New Jersey’s geolocation software works like a car’s GPS system. Age verification resources work the way they should. In short, New Jersey’s online gambling industry is trustworthy and safe.

Nevada and Delaware Online Gaming Statistics

The IDEA-backed study also described failures in online gambling. Meister and Johnson showed the statistics for the regulated online gambling industries for Delaware and Nevada. People criticized for New Jersey’s iGaming rollout, but the comparitive analysis shows that New Jersey’s online gambling numbers have grown. Meanwhile, the Delaware and Nevada revenues stagnated over the past 3 and 1/2 years.

The first report barely touched on the reasons for the lack of progress in Delaware and Nevada. Delaware has a small population, so its attempts to build an online poker industry failed due to liquidity issues. An interstate poker compact with Nevada helped somewhat, but a compact works better with more than two smaller states.

Also, most of Nevada’s casino companies showed little inclination to support online gambling sites. By February 2015, the Nevada Gaming Control Board ended reports on online poker statistics at all.

IDEA’s Jeff Ifrah on New Jersey iGaming

Jeff Ifrah of the Ifrah Law Firm praised New Jersey’s online gambling industry. He said lawmakers in other states could learn a lot by studying New Jersey’s gaming model.

Mr. Ifrah, who is a founding member of the iDevelopment and Economic Association, said of the first white paper produced by iDEA, “New Jersey’s experience provides valuable lessons for other U.S. states considering iGaming legalization in the future.”

“New Jersey iGaming is also a success from a regulatory perspective, with some of the strictest iGaming regulation protocols in the world. These regulations guarantee that operators are accountable, and that players can trust that they will be protected.

 

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