A recent report in the Financial Times said that states that are legalizing internet gambling want to link with other countries to create a global, regulated internet gambling market. At the present time federal law remains illegal but states may legalize in within their own borders thanks to a 2011 opinion by the Justice Department. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have already legalized internet gambling and Pennsylvania, Illinois and California are considering legalization. New Jersey’s law allows for “compacts with foreign countries” outside the US.
It would appear that some lawmakers have realized that liquidity is key to gambling markets and the ability to make money from them. Establishing global markets can help states with small populations to solve their liquidity problems. This would be great news to European internet gaming operators. Currently the US market is closed to European gaming operators. In states that have legalized internet gambling casinos have partnered with European gaming operators with years of experience in the online gaming sector. Some European gaming firms have already received Nevada interactive gaming licenses.
A few Irish firms have entered the American gaming market. PaddyPower and Boylesports have been pre-approved for Nevada gaming licenses. The Nevada licenses could help both operators to expand to other states. In Ireland internet gambling is not regulated. The only legislative recognition of internet gambling in the country is in a bill extending the 1% betting tax to internet operators. Since there are no regulations in place Irish internet gaming companies are licensed in the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and other European countries so they can offer their services and products in Ireland. Internet operators in Ireland will not be competitive in the American market thanks to the lack of regulations.
Given the attitude of the federal government towards internet gambling and the refusal of congress to pass laws legalizing internet gambling, individual states are more likely to enter into agreements with jurisdictions that are regulated. European gaming operators are probably salivating at the prospect of legalization in the US but it looks like Irish gaming operators will miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime through no fault of their own.