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Global Online Casino Legislation Needs Clarification

With United States authorities enforcing anti online casino gambling legislation, there are many unanswered questioned that suddenly became crucial. The most important question that needs to be answered is “what is gambling?” The answer is very important for the online casino industry, as it defines what is legal or not legal in the United States. Actually, the different between gambling and other online games is not that clear in other countries as well. Last week, Israeli authorities cracked down on an online casino operation that offers backgammon playing for real money. The company is claiming that backgammon is not considered as gambling, and therefore the company’s actions are completely legal under the Israeli law.

The same situation exists in United States. The new anti online casino bill refers to all types of online casino gambling, but if a certain website is offering a game that isn’t considered as ‘gambling’, then its operation is legal under the new bill. Why is this important? Well, poker for example is one of those games that lay on the border. Many people believe that poker is a game of skill, and that the outcome is determined only by the skill of the players involved, and not by a random decision of lady luck. If online casino poker will be labeled as a game of skill, then offering online casino poker to American players will be considered legal under the new bill!

One of the most popular online casino poker sites in the United States have reopened its American site and currently offers online poker gambling to U.S. citizens under the claim that poker is not gambling. The fine line between playing a game of chance and playing a game that calls for certain skills is very thin, and the online casino industry can use it to its advantage. There are other card games that can be labeled as games of skill and with little effort find their way back into the American online casino market. Until politicians clarify on the new anti online gambling bill, operators should take advantage of the gray zones and offer gambling to the world’s most gambling loving nation, or any other market where “gambling” is forbidden.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.