A recent study of the US online gambling industry was conducted by Gambling Compliance (GC) in which the research team predicted the future of the industry for 2015. The most notable projections had to do with what US jurisdictions are the most likely to regulate online casino and/or poker games, and what will become of HR 707, the bill designed to enforce a blanket ban of iGaming across the nation, known as RAWA.
The Future of US Online Gambling in 2015
The GC report, entitled US Internet Gambling In Focus: 2014 and 2015, based its predictions on current legislative maneuvers and the performance of iGaming markets in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. “We acknowledge that Internet gambling legislative forecasting is far more art than science,” reads the report, “yet endeavor to forecast we must.”
The overall attitude from the research team was a positive one. The report noted an immense growth in New Jersey’s online casino market, finding that revenues in that category have increased an impressive 93% since the first full month of operation in December 2013. However, online poker hasn’t fared so well, having declined 29% in the same timeframe.
Those results aren’t hampering the potential for US online gambling expansion, though. GC predicted that as many as three US jurisdictions will go ahead with iGaming regulation before the year is out. They include the states of California and Pennsylvania, as well as the unincorporated territory of the US Virgin Islands.
Despite the significantly higher growth rate of online casino gambling in New Jersey, California has long maintained its intentions to regulate online poker only, and researchers do not expect that to change. In Pennsylvania, however, GC believes examinations of revenue reports from regulated states will be a key factor in the decision to regulate a more comprehensive iGaming market that includes online poker and casino gambling.
“In 2015, we expect the significant growth disparity between New Jersey Internet casino win and Internet poker win to be a key talking point in states that are weighing whether to legalize Internet poker, only,” said GC.
RAWA is Doomed; US Online Gambling will Survive another Year
The topic of a federal bill known as the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) was touched upon, and GC clearly believes that the blanket ban of US online gambling is doomed to fail in 2015. It was forecasted that RAWA has absolutely no chance of making its way into the law book this year. However, GC also surmised that the issue will return in 2016.
“Federal consideration of Internet gambling tends to occur late in the second year of each two-year session of Congress,” the report reads. While RAWA is expected to remain the most prominent iGaming topic on Capitol Hill in 2015, it won’t be until 2016 that legislators take it seriously. And by then, GC says the federal debate regarding US online gambling may take on a more biased landscape.
“Perhaps the biggest question facing US Internet gambling in 2014 was: Can the industry be effectively regulated?” said the GC. “In 2015, the biggest question…may not be regulatory or technological, but instead political.”