In October, the states of Nevada and Delaware entered into a shared liquidity arrangement with the state of New Jersey. This means that players from all three states can now enjoy much larger online gambling prizes and are shared between the three states' legal gambling sites!
The move comes as a result of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The act allows individual states to decide whether or not they want to legalise online gambling. Delaware and Nevada have been, until now, the only two states to implement the necessary legal steps to get online gambling services up and running.
Now New Jersey's players will join the shared liquidity agreement originally set up by Delaware and Nevada in 2014. New Jersey's Governor, Chris Christie, commented on the arrangement:
"Pooling players with Nevada and Delaware will enhance annual revenue growth, attract new consumers, and create opportunities for players and internet gaming operators. This agreement marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for online gaming, and we look forward to working with our partners in Nevada and Delaware in this endeavour."
Brian Sandoval, the Governor for Nevada, added:
"I would like to thank Governor Christie for joining in partnership with Nevada and Delaware. New innovations and technological advancements are connecting more people and increasing the capabilities of Nevada’s gaming industry. Gaming is one of our oldest industries and it’s imperative that we continue to look for new opportunities to explore its full potential in a changing frontier."
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has also been involved with the logistical process. Chairman AG Burnett reported to the Las Vegas Review journal that:
"Our technology team started to work with their colleagues in New Jersey and Delaware yesterday. It’s been a really great, collegial working environment with them."
While online gambling, whether in the form of bingo, poker or slots, has continued to go from strength to strength in other parts of the world, the UK included, there is still an ongoing debate in the US with regard to its legality and desirability. Back in the 2000s, PokerStars dominated the global online gaming industry.
But was shut down by the government in 2011, during an event referred to as 'Black Friday'. While it's still the largest online poker site in the world, the action taken by the US government set the precedent for online gambling in America since, making it very difficult for any operator to attain the same kind of success.
Currently, online gaming platforms have to be vetted thoroughly and approved by each jurisdiction that has legalised them. The agreement between New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada means that each state taxes revenue according to its own standards, but that all gaming regulators across all three states can access the mutually owned servers.
While these three states have succeeded in setting up the required frameworks, no others have followed suit. This is possibly due to the grey area of the law itself, which states that it's simply illegal for an online gambling operator to accept money. The act of gambling itself is not illegal. Sports betting online is legal, however.
It's certainly murky water, but the New Jersey agreement could signal coming changes. The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which allows online sports betting, could be amended to include online gambling as well. Additionally, the headphone company Monster, which makes the Beats brand, may have a way around the legislation.
COO Fred Khalilian has claimed that the fact that Indian reservations aren't governed by US law means there may be a way to open an online casino to the nation. He's convinced enough to have committed to opening PokerTribe this December.
The plan has been six years in the making, and the recent relaxation of the Federal Wire Act (which is also one reason New Jersey opened its doors to online gambling) has encouraged states to consider online gambling a little more seriously.
It does however, still prevent any state where online gambling is legal from being open to punters from anywhere else in the US. Because Native American land isn't on US territory, hosting servers for online casinos wouldn't be violating any Federal law.
While it's hard to predict whether the scheme will come off this December, it's certainly an interesting time for online gambling in the States, and one thing is certain – whoever does find a way to work the legal framework will reap the financial benefits quickly!
For more information of all things gambling in the US, feel free to check out our Gambling.com US-facing site, gambling.com/us!