As we look ahead to the New Year, predicting what it will bring is always a variable experience based on past performances and educated guesses. With that said, I’m going to make some predictions as to what 2017 will bring us in terms of global online gambling laws and regulation.
The most prominent nation’s in the world expected to move ahead with some sort of legislative and/or regulatory movement are Australia, Brazil, Germany and the United States.
Australia To Restrict Online Gambling in 2017
Perhaps the easiest prediction of all is Australia’s inevitable prohibition against unauthorized forms of online gambling in 2017. The government has already seen consensus on an amendment to the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 that would effectively enforce existing laws.
Online casinos and poker rooms will become officially (and enforceably) prohibited, resulting in a mass exodus of international operators that aren’t licenced in Australia.
While the government will be invariably pleased by this, the most resounding result will be the hiring of countless employees to endlessly monitor and block mirror sites that pop up in place of previously blocked sites.
Brazil Will Pass Online Gambling Law
Brazil has been trying to pass online gambling legislation for some time now. The process has been consistently delayed by political turmoil, but 2017 should be the year they finally get the job done.
Unfortunately, we can expect a state-run monopoly in which all operators will be required to run on the same technology. And while countless offshore casino operators will surely swarm into queue for a land-based licence to access it, they won’t have anyone to appeal to for anti-competitive movements in a monopolized market.
Germany Will Add Casino, Poker to Sports Betting Rules
Germany is already in the process of getting online sports betting laws into the books. Before those rules are finalized, I predict online casino and poker games will be tossed into the mix.
The country will follow other members of the European Union in opening their poker liquidity to other EU states, but will rely heavily most on the tax revenue from online casino games, as sharing player pools still won’t give the online poker community the boost they’re hoping for.
US Remains Status Quo, Except Pennsylvania
It was largely expected that Pennsylvania lawmakers would finally pass online gambling legislation in 2016. Despite more than half their lawmakers supporting the movement, that obviously didn’t happen. But I truly believe it will in 2017.
Pennsylvania has many holes that need shoring up in its budget, and the legalization of online casinos and poker games – as well as permitting slots in airports and increasing taxes for land-based casinos – will cover a sizable chunk of that gaping hole.
As for the rest of the United States, I don’t anticipate any other legislative efforts will come to fruition. California’s near decade-long tango with online poker legislation will continue to go nowhere, and federal efforts to blanket-ban internet gambling will remain stagnant. The push for legalized sports betting isn’t going to see any progress, either.
President Donald Trump is preparing to take office just weeks from now, but his opinion on internet gambling is too evenly distributed to go in either direction. Instead, he’ll focus on the major topics that led his campaign, leaving the issue of federal iGaming legislation for another year.