The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States Makes Standards Suggestions
On Friday, The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States suggested standards all US states considering online gaming should adopt. The New York based group believes nationwide standards will make it more likely that the U.S. public accepts the online gambling industry.
The iGaming industry faces a pivotal test in the United States Congress in 2014. As a midterm election approaches, a bipartisan bill has been introduced to both houses of Congress. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced the Restoration of the Wire Act to the U.S. Senate in March. At the same time, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced the same bill to the House of Representatives.
US Online Gambling Threatened
If the bill is passed, then online gambling would be banned categorically at the federal level. Internet gaming would cease to be legal in all 50 states. At present, only 3 states have legalized online gambling: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. At least 10 other states are considering the advantages of licensed online gambling, including New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Louisiana.
Also, Delaware and Nevada signed an interstate poker compact in March 2014. This allows states which legalized online poker to sign the compact and share poker player lists with Delaware, Nevada, and all other signatories. The United States stands on the verge of a new age of online gambling, which is why Senator Graham, Representative Chaffetz, and their financial backer, Sheldon Adelson, would like to squelch the industry before it becomes entrenched.
Standards of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States
One of the guidelines being stressed including player protection from dangers such as identity thieves and problem gambling. Another guideline involves a thorough investigation of all new licensees.
Protect States Rights
An important safeguard is the one which determines who a player is and where their gaming activities are located. One of Sen. Graham’s complaints is gambling is illegal in South Carolina, but a smartphone allows anyone in the state to play video poker machines. Geolocation laws would assure the technology exist to stop all gambling outside the state (as Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware currently have).
Florida State Representative James Waldman as the chairman of the legislative group. Waldman says, “As a group of legislators responsible for sound gaming public policy in our respective states, (the council) recognizes the threats, as well as the possibilities, involved in new technology and Internet gaming.”
Stop Underage Gambling
Another concern many have is the danger to underage players. For this reason, one of the 50-state standards The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States wants installed is protection for children who try to gamble. Underage play is a problem, anyway, but technology which bars teenage players from using their parent’s account or their own gaming account must be taken into effect.
The fewer problems encountered across the United States, the more likely iGaming is to gain acceptance. The group wants to establish a broad framework for those states which adopt legal gambling. Its members say they do not take a position for or against online gambling, though the assumption is a certain amount of such gaming would take place.
Later, State Rep. Waldman added he “wants to ensure that an effective system is in place for those that do allow intrastate Internet gaming, and that policy standards are in place to promote security and uniformity in states that may wish to form interstate Internet compacts.”
Credit Card Problems Addressed
Some of the suggestions are more practical than legal. Members of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States conferred with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on their experiences with the New Jersey online gaming rollout.
They found that the credit card issue had dampened the enthusiasm for many gamblers who otherwise were prepared to enjoy licensed online gaming. More than 55% of credit card and debit card payments have been declined in the 6 months since New Jersey online casinos started accepting players. The council therefore made suggestions for other states to have a more successful launch, if they should legalize intrastate online casinos.
AGA No Longer Supports Regulated Online Gambling
In a later update, the American Gaming Association withdrew its support for licensed online gambling on May 20, 2014. The AGA said it could not be an advocate for Internet gaming, because of contention between the US land-based gaming companies. The board of directors of the AGA includes James Murren of MGM Resorts, Gary Loveman of Caesars Entertainment, Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts, and Michael Leven of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. The board also contains representatives of Isle of Capri, Churchill Downs, Bally Technologies, IGT, Aristocrat Leisure, WMS Gaming, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming, Pinnacle Entertainment, Station Casinos, and Morgan Stanley.
With such a diverse collection of gaming entities, it is hard to form a consensus. Among the Big Four American casino gaming companies, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment support online gaming. Wynn Resorts has a wait-and-see approach, while the Las Vegas Sands actively works to end legal US online casinos. This is the rift which caused the AGA to withdraw its support.
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