by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
Unfortunately for the U.S. internet gambling market, many American citizens are apathetic to legal standing of online gaming. Before any regulatory bills can be passed through Congress, the people need to show the much needed support that just is not there. Because many U.S. players began to access online casinos well after the UIGEA had gone into effect they are unaware of the current restrictions put on game play.
U.S. Trade Representatives recently negotiated a settlement with the European Union in recompense for the discriminatory actions against overseas gaming establishments. The settlement is not commonly known among the American public. Speculation now circulates that Antigua, also involved in trade disputes with the U.S., could begin to infringe on American movie and music copyrights. The majority of American citizens are oblivious to this. Without their corroboration and patronage, state and federal legislators will not see any results in the campaign for internet gaming in the U.S. Business and revenue will continue to go to overseas gambling sites. Considering all of the advancements in gaming technology, land casinos will most likely struggle to maintain its consumer base.
Even with organizations like the Poker Players Alliance, with over one million members advocating for the right to gamble online, there is only a fraction of gamers taking action against the UIGEA. With further arrests being made because of anti-gambling laws, not only on the players and websites but payment processors as well, more online casinos and gaming websites are refusing U.S. players. Since the implementation of the UIGEA, thousands of online casino users have simply vanished. Because judicial action has been taken against payment processors like NETeller, internet gambling websites that accept U.S. players can no longer accept deposits from American citizens. The gaming market for Americans is diminishing by the day, and the majority of the gaming public sits idly by.
The amount of problem gamblers amount to around 0.6% of the adult population, according to studies by the UK Gambling Commission in 1999 and 2007. Since the founding of online casino gambling, the overall rate in gambling dropped from 62% if the adult population to 58% which suggests that the growth of internet gaming has not contributed to the number of problem gamblers. The taxable land gambling market has not undergone the same scrutiny as internet gambling. The U.S. is being denied billions of dollars in revenue that could be generated by taxing online casinos. That the American gaming public does not then question why their rights are being taken away demonstrates apathy and ignorance toward the invasive legislation.
For those who wish to participate in the fight against gaming laws, the Poker Players Alliance, gaming representatives and sensible Congressmen urge players to write state legislators expressing their opinions on the state of gaming in the U.S. The players who do not show their support are willingly forfeiting their rights and do not deserve to gamble online. We urge gamers everywhere to keep informed, voice their opinions and vote on regulatory legislation. Without the support of the public, no positive changes can be made.