New Group Lobbying for Legal Online Gaming in the US
Online gaming has always been a hot issue amongst politicians and policy makers in the US. It always feels like the fate of online gaming in the US is in some type of limbo, with rumors of certain states considering legality, and plans in the works of changes to the law. Now, a new group has been formed to lobby for changes to this status quo, favoring an integrated online gaming industry. The new group has stationed its offices in Washington D.C. and is known as iDEA, or, the i-Development and Economic Association.
The Idea behind iDEA
Using the success of New Jersey’s foray into internet gambling as a positive and practical example, iDEA will be lobbying to convince politicians and federal legislators to begin the process of regulating online gaming in the US.
New Jersey So Far
In 2013, New Jersey became one of the few states to allow its citizens to gamble online. The bill to make online gaming legal was signed by the Governor of New Jersey on the basis of a trial period of 10 years. The iDEA group will base its case for regulation upon the findings from New Jersey’s big move which are indeed quite impressive.
To give you an idea of just how positive the New Jersey experiment has been so far, here are some figures. The official findings show that in 2016 taxes on online gaming reached $34.5 million. This substantial amount was split into two, with $29.5 million going to the state as a whole, and $4.9 million going to local funds because of the concentration of gambling site headquarters being in Atlantic City. What’s more impressive is that these figures represent an increase of 32% over the previous year so there’s no telling how much revenue 2017 will bring.
Jeff Ifrah, one of iDEA’s founding members and a leading gaming attorney said, “New Jersey’s experience provides valuable lessons for other U.S. states considering iGaming legalization. The state’s operating environment and regulatory structure provides a portable model which can be implemented by other jurisdictions, bringing much-needed jobs and tax revenue.”
“New Jersey iGaming is also a success from a regulatory perspective, with some of the strictest iGaming regulation protocols in the world,” Ifrah said. “These regulations guarantee that operators are accountable, and that players can trust that they will be protected.”
Who is Behind iDEA
The iDEA group is comprised of a number of representatives from different backgrounds who are interested in changing the current statues of online gaming in the US. iDEA claim that there are certain parties hindering the online gaming legalization process such as the American Gaming Association. It’s not a new claim as it’s widely known that the AGA’s primary financial backer, gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, has lobbied against the legalization of online gaming for years. For this reason, any group that wishes to truly change things will have to work quite hard to do so.
iDEA seems to be rallying together a substantial group of backers itself. For a start they have Betfair, Paddy Power, Golden Nugget and Tropicana Entertainment in full support. In the gaming software camp, developers supporting iDEA include Amaya, NYX and NetEnt as well as the live gaming platform developer eZugi. Online banking companies have also shown support for the iDEA campaign including PaySafe, GVC, and Sightline Payments.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The potential revenue that can come out of legalizing online gaming in the US is just so huge that it seems like it will be a hard movement to stop. Still, iDEA has its work cut out for it both in terms of influencing politicians and changing public opinion.