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It has been just over a year since the events of Black Friday changed the world of online gambling forever. For those who are new to the world of internet based gambling, Black Friday was a day last April when the United States Department of Justice shut down the .com domains of several big online poker sites such as Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars and indicted several people involved in the internet poker business with criminal and civil lawsuits.
The effects of these actions was grave for the online poker industry, which saw a drastic decline in traffic as many players were afraid to deposit with a site that may be shut down by the US Government. Many online poker sites also saw this initial act as a shot across the bow, and abandoned the American poker scene before they could be shut down.
Needless to say, 2011 was a bad year for internet gamblers everywhere. However, just as things were at their bleakest, the United States Justice Department gave internet gamblers an early holiday gift when they reversed course on The Wire Act, saying that it only applied to sports betting. What this meant is that American internet gamblers were always right: what they were doing was not illegal, as long as they did not participate in online sports betting.
With this change of attitude, one might think that internet gambling was primed to break through the front door and explode as an industry due to the fact that the United States contains one of the largest overall markets for gambling in the world.
Sadly, this has not been the case.
Instead we sit one year after Black Friday in almost the same position we were in before. There has been no substantial progress on passing legislation regarding internet poker or casino games in the United States which would protect players and raise taxable revenues for state and federal governments.
Operators are still afraid to enter the American market, fearing that if they come in prematurely that the Feds may punish them if and when legislation is passed.
Players are frustrated, with many heading to offshore casinos and card rooms that will still take their money; a dicey proposition given the large number of rogue casinos waiting to steal from unsuspecting punters.
And that leads to the point of this blog: Because things have not changed in the past year, players are the ones who hurt the most. We bear the burden of the government choosing not to protect us. We are stuck with inferior games and casinos compared to the rest of the world, and are spending our money offshore: money that could be instead going to aid in creating taxable revenue for the country (which apparently desperately needs it).
As far as things appeared to have come in a year, we as gamblers need to accept that nothing has really changed. With all the hope and promise that we MAY potentially see in the future, we need to realize that we are the catalysts for these changes. We need to become actively involved in working with our politicians to get something done to help ourselves. We need to make our voices heard so that things change for the better.
Let's all stand together and work with the firms out there to help get internet gambling regulated in the United States. A bigger market will help everybody, not just the American player. People in other countries will see more innovations flourish as one of the largest doors in the world is opened up to additional developers.
What do you guys have to say?
Excellent, well-written blog post, as usual, 'Slim!
First, I can't believe a year has already passed since those incidents took place.
Apathy is a terrible thing, and I believe that many minor players feel helpless, and as if they cannot make a difference. So, how do we get the word out to those who feel this way to tell them they CAN? I am as guilty as anyone else, and your post inspired me to try to look into who I would write to about this. Because you are correct in saying that, sadly, nothing has really changed.
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