While it can be argued that the United States offers the highest number of legal gaming establishments per capita when compared to other nations, an irony exists here. Unlike countless countries around the world, online casinos are associated with a rather fragmented nature in terms of their legality. Residents of some states are allowed access while others are legally forbidden. This is drastically different when we consider major Canadian providers such as JackpotCity online casino which are able to cater to the needs of an entire population.
However, these observations may change in the near future thanks to the devastating impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had upon the physical casino community. As the majority of these organisations have been forced to remain closed for months at a time, countless millions of dollars in revenue has been lost. Thus, many establishments are keen to leverage the opportunities found throughout the online community. Could this lead to a paradigm shift in regards to the legality of virtual gaming?
Let us take a look at some theoretical hurdles that still need to be overcome
The Issue of States’ Rights
Perhaps the most profound challenge is one which tends to be rather unique to America. The notion of states’ rights is one of the founding principles of the entire nation. In other words, the federal government is prohibited from “overstepping” its jurisdiction in regards to how it can influence state governments. The potential problem here is that legalising online gambling throughout the entire nation would likely require some type of mandate on a federal level. It is not clear whether or not all states would support this move. Some may delay the approach of such a bill until certain ratifications are made in their favour.
Federal and state income tax is another question which has yet to be fully answered. Americans are currently required to pay both. While federal tax is uniform throughout the nation, state taxes can vary. Thus, would states seek to impose further taxes on any winnings? Would winnings also be considered fair sources of revenue by the federal government? This is a contentious concern, as players need to be enticed to register with online establishments. If their winnings are severely curtailed in the form of dual taxation, they will be less likely to sign up.
Licensing is a final concern. Will the federal government require some type of nationwide licence in order for an online casino to operate within the bounds of the law? If so, what would the stipulations and limitations be? Would the casinos in question be allowed to solely operate within the United States or can they cater to an international audience? These questions have yet to be fully answered.
The main takeaway point is that the current health crisis has irreparably damaged the casino industry. Thus, it only stands to reason that the virtual community could represent a viable (and perhaps necessary) source of income in the near future.