Although the Department of Justice (DoJ) recently changed its ideas regarding the Wire Act of 1961, there are still a number of obstacles to regulating the US online poker industry.
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While the DoJ’s latest move makes it easier for US states to create their own online poker laws and launch interstate online gaming services, thereby boosting state revenue, they might be disappointed to see that the profits will not be as large as they would like them to be. Speaking on the subject, Anthony Cabot, an online gaming expert and attorney, said: “No one can assume that it’s a free ride to Internet poker.”

One of the biggest obstacles to the online poker in individual states is the low population in those states. Most US states are just too small to invest millions of dollars in the online poker industry, especially when there might just not be a good number of players at the tables. Speaking on this hurdle, Cabot said, “You have to have enough players to populate that ecosphere. Little states don’t have enough to make it work.”

Besides, there are just too many parties eagerly waiting to grab a share of the profits. Casinos managed by Native American tribes, lotteries, as well as land-based casinos will all want a share of the market. I. Nelson Rose, a law professor at Whittier College, says that all three parties exist in California and predicted that California will have to issue three licenses in order to satisfy them all. Simultaneously, he said that the lottery might lose because of the power of the native tribes. He said, “The tribes see [online gambling as inevitable and something that must be shared.”

Another point to consider is that all the states have not approved online gaming. The District of Columbia and Nevada have already legalized online gaming, leaving the door open for the other 49 states to join them, but attorney Stephen Schrier does not think that this is possible although he feels that one state will launch online gaming services in 2012, that one state most likely to be Nevada. Schrier also feels that interpreting existing laws will be a huge problem.

Simultaneously, all the legal gaming experts agree that the DoJ has made a very significant announcement although it is just a small step towards the final goal. Rose even labels it as the government’s gift to states that are wallowing in debt.

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