It has been almost a year since Ultimate Poker launched the new United States online gambling industry in Nevada. The Department of Justice decided it was okay for states to offer Internet gambling, as long as it was restricted to anyone physically located within that state’s boundaries, and sports gambling was not on the table. New Jersey and Delaware followed Nevada’s lead, adding Las Vegas style casino gambling as well as virtual poker, and as of this post, those three states remain the only in the US to legally deliver cyber wagering to their residents and visitors.
With nearly a year of legal state regulated Internet gambling offerings under their proverbial belts, why then are the majority of Net gamblers in those three states choosing offshore options over their own local ones? It would make sense that a prospective US cyber gambler would want to benefit from licensing and tax revenue generated by the state sanctioned legal online gambling entities that are available. You could look at it as sort of a rebate or rake-back. If I live in Nevada, Delaware or New Jersey, and gamble at the web casinos or poker rooms offered there, win or lose, I benefit from any monies generated by the industry staying in my state.
But even with that attractive proposition, it appears players are still opting for established offshore Internet gambling destinations, even when there are legal offerings in their own state. Recently the Global iGaming Summit and Expo was held, and data was released showing that a full 38% of all online poker play in New Jersey happens offshore. This means those particular virtual gambling portals are not licensed in New Jersey, and doing the state no good financially. And with revenue having not met expectations in any of the three states legally delivering World Wide Web wagering, it is important to know exactly why gamblers are choosing to go offshore.
Depositing money still continues to be a problem in the US Internet gambling industry. Depositing through legitimate offshore poker rooms, casinos and sportsbooks (sports gambling through US-based companies is still considered illegal in all 50 states) is quick and easy when players deal with the top operators. And unlike Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey web casinos and poker rooms, the legitimate offshore options are embroiled in a very competitive industry. Because of this, opening deposits and often times subsequent deposits are met with attractive welcome bonuses which can actually double or triple the amount of money a web gambler has to play with.
The sign-up process is also much simpler, because there are no geolocation snafus to hurdle. And for poker players, liquidity, meaning consistent and dependable traffic any time night or day, is very important. Those offshore websites which have obtained legal licensing from legitimate Internet gambling jurisdictions located outside of the United States can offer consistent and heavy traffic at all times. For instance, Bovada is consistently the largest Internet poker site that honors US players. It handles 8.5 times the traffic generated by the largest New Jersey site, and a full 15 times more than the largest Nevada web poker room. Add the fact that sports betting is legal and provided responsibly by legitimate offshore web sportsbooks, and you can see why the US Internet gambling industry has a long way to go before it will challenge established, legitimately licensed offshore options.