US industry group iDEA urges states to allow online gambling

US industry group iDevelopment & Economic Association (iDEA) has urged States to allow online gambling operations within their respective jurisdictions. iDEA emphasised that allowing conventional casinos to go online will help them avoid incurring major losses. With bricks-and-mortar casinos dwindling in popularity anyway, this might not be a bad idea.

The United States is now into its third week of semi-quarantine because of Coronavirus. Land-based casinos and betting shops are closed because of wide-sweeping Coronavirus measures. People are out of work and revenue is dwindling. The Las Vegas Review Journal said the number of closed land-based casinos is 910 which equates to 92% of all the casinos in the country.

Swift online gambling legalisation holds the key

iDEA has recommended that every state should rapidly remove restrictions associated with online gaming. This will enable casinos to set up their websites quickly, make up for the lost revenue and support their workforce. During these times, individual states are authorised to use their emergency powers which extends to legalising iGaming.

iDEA’s John Pappas recently stated in an interview that taking such a step might not prove to be a panacea. Considering the situation that American gambling and gaming industry is facing now, an e-commerce presence for the country’s casino industry is very much needed.

Casino establishments expected to change their stance

According to Yaniv Sherman, Head of Commercial Developments for 888 Holdings, big casino businesses aren’t enthusiastic about online gambling. This could be set to change due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Many predict that it could change the face of the online gambling industry forever.

While iDEA is extremely keen on a push for online gambling, not everyone is on board thus far. Many problem gambling groups are not comfortable with the thought of legalising online gambling. They believe it will lead to an increase in problem gambling and addiction.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling believes that using emergency powers to legalise online gambling could be a bad idea. He said that legalising any gambling product should happen only after a debate amongst lawmakers and after going through the normal legislative process. He stressed that fast-tracking the plan suggested by iDEA will provide people with easy and unobstructed access to gambling products.

Countering Keith Whyte’s opinion, Pappas said that the US gambling industry has always come out in support for regulation. iDea has always supported regulation of the industry because If there are no regulated gambling options available, citizens will just resort to illegal platforms instead.

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