Online gambling enthusiasts in the United States, outside of Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada, continue to place bets via computer, tablet, and phone in somewhat murky legal conditions. While online gambling is technically illegal throughout most of the country, online betting has been taking place with increasing regularity for over 20 years, and the odds are that doing so will continue to increase, especially as cash-strapped states see money come their way.
And, since the murky legality often doesn’t end up with any bettors being prosecuted, the illegality has proven to be more of a nuisance than a true deterrent. That being said, change does appear to be coming, and while gamblers around the country hope it will be in their favor, some obstacles remain. What the future of online gambling will look like is anybody’s guess, but here are a handful of possibilities.
Online Betting Remains (Mostly) Illegal But Possible
In this possible future, the UIGEA still holds sway over betting throughout the majority of the country, which means that online betting — except in the handful of states that offer their own state-sanctioned versions — will continue to be something that American bettors do through off-shore sites. While this scenario isn’t terrible, it does continue some of the current nuisances of the system that U.S.–based gamblers have to work around and within. For example, getting paid would continue to be problematic from time to time, and tax liabilities could still be confusing, depending on the state where you live and file taxes.
Because Congress doesn’t seem too eager to wade into online gambling territory, this possible future seems likely — at least for a time. If online gambling continues to grow, however, it’s unlikely that Uncle Sam will be able to resist getting a guaranteed piece of the action, so while this reality exist for a bit longer, it won’t hold indefinitely. Visit UnitedStatesGamblingOnline.com on a regular basis to keep updated regarding potential changes.
States Slowly Allow Some Forms of Online Betting
When it comes to states regulating and overseeing online gambling, all eyes are on Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. Since these states legalized online betting, there haven’t been any major issues regarding state-regulated online betting sites, but there also hasn’t been a massive amount of money made, either. For naysayers, the fact that online gambling has yet to produce a cash windfall for these states proves that taking it on isn’t the solution some lawmakers hoped it would be.
However, if revenues increase or hold steady, states looking to pick up some easy money for their pinched budgets will slowly wander into the online betting domain, which means that instead of one quick fix, bettors will find their play eased on a state by state basis that won’t be uniform but will offer easy options. This scenario is a likely possible future — especially if Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware keep at it and see some benefits.
The UIGEA is Overturned or Repealed
While the likelihood of this scenario is slim, an overturned or repealed UIGEA would radically change online betting in the United States by allowing people to bet and get paid with little forethought or research. The massive amounts of money that had previously been going to off-shore sites would stay within the states.
While regulation would be a challenge, the amount of money the U.S. government would see from the change would be large. It’s doubtful that Congress or a judge is going to overturn the law, however, so bettors shouldn’t hold their breath in regards to this potentiality.
Online Betting Remains Illegal and Starts Getting Prosecuted
The biggest fear of any online gambler, who is currently betting through off-shore sites, is that the U.S. government would start enforcing the law differently and with vigor in order to curb online. Because technology is here to stay, and, because brick and mortar gambling is generally accepted throughout the country, this scenario is highly unlikely.
There are too many citizens already engaged in online betting to prosecute them in a fair and just manner, and the cost in time and money would be substantial. While this possible future might occur, it’s by far the least likely of all the scenarios.
The future of online betting remains shrouded in mystery, and while changes in three states signal some light at the end of the tunnel, only time will tell whether or not gambling on the Internet will ever become mainstream.