In most states in the U.S., online gambling is illegal. In those that allow it, though, there are only three providers left. Find out which ones!
The Notorious UIGEA
Why did the other providers leave the U.S. market? The reason lies in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA. With this act, online gambling is banned. Needless to say, this law was a big blow to online casinos.
Before the UIGEA act, there was a primary legal statute regarding online gambling in the U.S., the Federal Wire Act of 1961 (FWA). This act also deals with the World Wide Web, even though it existed some 30 years prior to the Internet (as we know it today). In short, it forbids the electronic transmission of money for sports betting; in 2002 it was ruled out that this act does not prohibit Internet gambling.
So, for a short period of time, the FWA regulated online gambling and the business was safe. Although some states have specific state laws that prohibit online gambling, the majority does not have them. In those “liberal” states the only demand that the online gambling operators who wanted to register had to meet was to apply for a license from the Federal State in question. Due to human nature, all of this led to the situation, usually named “Wild West.”
The only state that ever issued a license was Nevada, in March 2013.
Therefore, politicians used this commotion to their benefit. The UIGEA act was passed on the last day before Congress; all activities stopped because of the forthcoming 2006 elections. At the last minute, the action was attached to the totally unrelated Security and Accountability For Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act).
UIGEA caused a lot of turmoil and criticisms. Nevertheless, President George W. Bush authenticated the law in October 2006. The rules and regulations of the law were not finished before November 2008. Finally, it became effective in January 2009, the day before President Obama became president.
They Are Still There
Only three providers were left on the market after the destructive influence of UIGEA, and these are NetEnt, Microgaming, and RealTime Gaming (RTG).
Founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden, Netent provides thrilling games to successful casinos all around the world. The firm even developed Back Office software with managing tools to optimize and boost the online business. Some of the well-known online video slots are Starburst, Dead or Alive, Narcos, Jumanji, Jimi Hendrix, and so on.
Microgaming is situated in London. It developed the first online casino software in 1994, and mobile casino software in 2004. The company’s pride and joy are online video slots, including epic-themed games such as Avalon, Thunderstruck, Dragonz. In addition, some of the most famous branded blockbuster games are Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, and Playboy Gold. Microgaming also actively participate in charity activities.
RTG exists from 1998. Headquarters were set up in Atlanta, Georgia, up until 2007–2008 when it moved to Heredia, Costa Rica. To put it in a nutshell, the company develops downloadable software for casinos. RTG has a license from various operators to run their own branded RTG-powered casino sites. Asgard, Fish Catch, Achilles, Caesar’s Empire, Eternal Love, and Lucky are just some of the best known online video slots from this provider.
One of the aftermaths of the UIGEA was that the London Stock Exchange stopped to accept U.S. players for all gambling sites that were listed on it. To illustrate the influence of this, companies as 888’s Pacific Poker, CD Poker, and a few other major poker sites suffered from their publicly traded stocks, dropping almost 60% within the first 24 hours of the bill’s passage.
From all of the above, one can conclude that European online gambling casinos have an advantage. European countries do not have such strict laws; most of them allow online gambling. In addition, casinos that offer poker rooms, online slot machines, video poker, and so on, are better because they have a long list of providers. What’s more, most online gambling sites accept debit cards or credit cards as well.
Many people would agree that the U.S. should legalize online casinos and vote for more flexible gambling laws.