The American Gaming Association says online poker's Black Friday could have a dangerous effect on U.S. players and it's about time the government regulates and taxes the billion dollar industry.
The AGA released a new white paper Thursday entitled Online Gambling Five Years After UIGEA, warning of the growing risk to U.S. consumers under the U.S. government’s current Internet gambling policy.
“Americans like to gamble online. Millions of Americans bet billions of dollars a year at offshore foreign websites and have demonstrated that they will do so even if their government tells them not to,” said AGA President and CEO Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
“This report illustrates that the United States can and should establish a safe and regulated online poker experience.”
The report recommends the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) be improved by reinforcing law enforcement tools and proscriptions to protect Americans from gambling websites operating from offshore jurisdictions with minimal or no regulation.
It also recommends authorizing a state-focused program to license U.S.-based operators offering online poker only and preserving the ability of state governments to decide whether online poker should be available within its borders.
$4 Billion Gambled Online Last Year
Tracking the growth of Internet gambling in the U.S. the report shows that while numbers dipped after the UIGEA passed, recovery was swift with some 15 million U.S. residents gambling a total of $4 billion on the Internet last year.
The AGA's report also suggests the online gambling market for U.S. bettors will recover from what the industry is calling Black Friday.
In fact, the AGA says the DOJ's recent enforcement activity could force U.S. gamblers to play with the approximately 1,000 remaining foreign operators.
Currently, the report estimates as many as 10,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual taxes would be generated in the U.S. if the law were changed to allow U.S. companies to provide online poker.
“It is time that the U.S. government clarifies its laws on Internet gambling in the United States once and for all,” Fahrenkopf said.
“Licensing and regulation of online poker in the U.S. would ensure American consumers are protected and that the jobs and revenues associated with this billion-dollar industry are realized here in the United States.”