American Financial Impact on Gambling
“There is no other leisure business in the world with the same potential for growth and shareholder returns as online gambling,” David Carruthers, chief executive of Bet On Sports, says. “Major online casinos usually project 20 percent annual sales growth. The online gambling industry is in its embryonic stages. And that growth says we’re running a business legitimately and responsibly. We’re generally seen as a worldwide leisure, entertainment product by our customers, similar to KFC, Ford, Coca-Cola, IBM or any other global brand. Except that customers can win money with us on a regular basis. But the U.S. government doesn’t see it that way, unfortunately.”
The online casino industry in the U.S. is of the underground variety, generally operating for Americans from offshore servers because according to the 1961 Wire Act which banned certain forms of gambling over phone lines, online casinos are illegal. Rare is the case where the federal government actually takes concrete action against online casino users in the United States, though in a couple of instances online casino companies which have tried to advertise either openly or subtly have met with resistance and even court cases. Americans make up a good majority of gamblers at a number of online casino sites, even with their government’s position standing in opposition to the practice.
It isn’t likely even with the large number of Americans gambling online that Washington will take a shine to the largely unregulated, perceived-as-insecure online casino industry. Even though in countries like the U.K. online casino companies are able to go public on the London Stock Exchange, don’t count on internet casino IPOs on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ unless the companies launching them don’t engage in online gambling operations in the U.S. The U.S. may not like online casinos, but Americans do. As long as they have access and don’t make too big a deal, maybe their government will stay the horses for a while longer.