What Do Americans Think About Online Gambling?
The Arab Spring throughout the Middle East and North Africa has brought an increase in mass protests against perceived corruption in the country and heightened concern about the stability of government. The situation in Morocco is no different; a recent investigation found that the main financial hub in the country, the Marrakech Free City, is being run through a company owned by a prime minister. The exact charges brought against the Gaming Commission and the Prime Minister are still unclear. However, hundreds have taken to the streets, demanding that the government step down or resign.
In neighboring Egypt, a similar situation has emerged. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, calling for the downfall of the ruling family and the ouster of the prime minister. Similar demonstrations have also erupted in Tunisia, Libya and Ivory Coast. Gaming is a huge industry in these countries, and a recent investigation into the country’s largest casino, the Atlas Club, found that it was being run through an entity owned by a member of parliament. A few other large casinos have already closed.
What’s next? Should American citizens be worried about their own casinos and their impact on local economies? On this question, the answer is not simple. The United States does not ban gambling anywhere in the world, nor does it ban the transfer of funds from one gambling gaming table to another. There is nothing in the law that would make an American who wagers on casino games and then takes a trip to a friend in another state a criminal.
The problem arises when an individual takes part in any activity that he or she knows or suspects is illegal under the United States law. For example, consider this: You and your friend both like to play craps, but it is illegal for you to gamble with any money in the United States. You also share the same bankroll and decide to both gamble at different sites. Now, if you ever find out that your friend is participating in something illegal such as foreign-exchange currency trading, or betting on sports events while using his funds from his home country, chances are good that you will be prosecuted for helping him do it. This is why many Americans who travel to other countries and partake in their local casinos are not exactly eager to share information about their activities back home.
It is possible that, given the current climate, there are new forms of gambling that can emerge in the United States. In fact, some insiders suggest that it may already be afoot. “We see a lot of people turning away from traditional gambling and poker games at online websites,” said Steve Berry, a Washington, D.C. based consultant. “We may see a new surge of folks trying to go to blackjack or bingo at Internet casinos.”
The U.S. government has made it clear that they don’t like online gambling because it destroys the tradition of European-style lotteries. But if anything, the Las Vegas Sands Corp. is taking things a step further and has announced a new development called the Las Vegas Web Gaming Site. Unlike other gambling games offered in the city, this one will allow its visitors to play free bingo games. And, the company promises that all of their games are 100% safe. With all of that said, a lot of Americans probably aren’t quite as excited about the idea of playing bingo online than they would be lining up at their nearest casino.