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Americans Spent $2.6 Billion On I-Gambling In 2012

Nation Represents Around 10 Percent Of Global Market Right Now


Despite online poker’s Black Friday in 2011, the American online betting market was $2.6 billion in 2012, the American Gaming Association said Tuesday.

The research was conducted by British-based research firm H2 Gambling Capital.

Globally, around $33 billion was spent by online gambling customers in 2012. There have been estimates of the American market being worth around three times as much if fully open for business. The U.S. (population 314 million) is after all the world’s top economy.

The Tuesday news came as the AGA, the casino industry’s lobbying group on Capitol Hill, prepares to use the fictional film Runner, Runner as a way to stress the need for federal legislation on web gambling. The film depicts the alleged shadiness of offshore operators.

“Americans account for nearly 10 percent of the global online gaming marketplace at a time when the business is illegal in all but three American states [Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware],” Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the AGA, said in a statement. “It is past time for policymakers to put necessary safeguards in place.”

“The alternative to the approach AGA recommends is a state-by-state patchwork of regulations across a borderless Internet where the black market will continue to thrive in states that choose not to pass legislation,” he warned in the press release.

While the AGA will continue hammering home the message that online poker should be legalized nationwide in order to make it a cleaner business, Freeman has admitted that the odds of anything coming to fruition are really slim, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Freeman’s opinion echoes the view of former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli, who told Card Player recently that “the window is essentially closed.”

The opinion that a federal bill is very unlikely isn’t anything new, however. Some industry folks have been saying for a long time that they are pessimistic about its chances. Many lawmakers, for whatever reason, are simply opposed to the idea of such betting being available across the nation on any computer with an Internet connection. They cannot be persuaded.

Despite the pessimism, the casino lobby has been tasked with still making the effort. Obviously, it would still be preferable for casino firms to have access to the gambling-aged population in one fell swoop rather than the arduous process of authorization state by state.

While online gambling in the form of slot play might not depend too heavily on liquidity to function properly, online poker is one product that thrives on large player pools. For example, the larger an online poker tournament becomes the more players it attracts and if there are more cash games to choose from players generally feel more comfortable and happy.