As a legalized and regulated internet gambling market inches closer towards becoming a reality in the United States, several portable gaming developers are looking for potential American partners that they can leverage to bring mobile betting stateside.
After federal pushes to legalize and regulate the act never materialized, individual states took matters into their own hands. Aided by a December, 2011 Justice Department opinion that casino and poker gaming did not violate The Wire Act, individual states began creating their own laws regarding internet gambling.
Nevada was first, legalizing internet poker for people geographically located within its borders at the time of action. Delaware was the next, legalizing both internet and casino games within its borders. Earlier this year New Jersey also joined the internet gambling became the third state to legalize and regulate internet gambling, as Republican Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law which legalizes internet casino and poker games.
Now there is a full on rush for more states to jump on the cyber bandwagon. From Massachusetts to Hawaii and everywhere in between, there seems to be some form of active legislative work towards legalizing some form of internet gambling.
Always eager to maximize their profits, mobile betting firms have started to investigate the possibility of a liberalized American market. For an industry that is growing as rapidly as internet gambling, mobile betting may be the hottest segment in that market. Strong growth in mobile punters has led to industry analysts predicting that worldwide mobile betting revenues could reach $11.4 billion by 2014.
And that does not include the U.S. Market.
With a population of more than 300 million, the United States is the apple that is prime for the picking. As it has become more and more obvious that internet gambling will be legalized there, firms such as Probability plc have started building strategic alliances. Apparently, the interest is mutual.
“We are getting a lot of interest from U.S. Companies,” Probability CEO Charles Cohen told Reuters in an interview earlier this month. “I would hope to get into at least one other territory during this year, if not two,” the Executive continued.
Speaking about the future of internet gambling in America Cohen said, “Within a couple of years, half the population of the United States will live either in a state or very close to somewhere they can gamble for real money through their mobile phone or desktop.”
With optimism like that, it is no wonder that so many firms are looking to America to continue their internet gambling successes.
With a new market comes new challenges. Those looking to enter the American gaming market from offshore will likely face a few obstacles due to legal proceedings in the past.
After the United States passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, betting operators who continued to offer betting services to Americans were kept track of. Now, any operators who were offering action during this time frame may be subject to a “bad actor” clause in gaming legislation. These bad actor clauses could end up keeping certain betting groups out of the United States from a period of five years to forever, depending on the language written into law.
Such a clause could end up being potentially lethal to some of the bigger names in the gaming industry, as revenues that could have been theirs would be passed on to rival firms who heeded the federal government’s warnings and pulled out of America in 2006.
Even with the potential challenges European mobile betting firms may face when coming to America, there is a sense that the future is as bright as ever.
“I think that desktop is dead as a platform for real money gaming … and consumers are frankly voting with their feet already,” Cohen remarked, noting that mobile betting is expected to bring in the bulk of the industry’s revenues within five years.
Like a legalized American cyber betting market, mobile domination seems to be just a matter of time.