It’s hard to imagine that an industry that has seen such rampant growth and change is less than twenty years old. Back in 1994 when the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act, allowing licenses to be granted to organizations applying to open online casinos, few thought that the ease and accessibility of betting on your favorite team, playing poker, or playing a few hands of blackjack from your home or cell phone would become a reality. Fast forward to 2013 and not only is that a reality, but the most common form of gambling by a huge margin. 
Yet with an industry that has generated huge revenues and proven to be highly profitable , it appears the United States failed to learn its lesson from the 1920’s and early 1930’s.  Much like the prohibition era of alcohol, finding alternative avenues of online gaming is a simple task. Banning internet gaming in the United States has simply put these revenues in the pockets of offshore sportsbooks, casinos, and poker rooms.  Overall, Nevada’s legal sports wagering represents less than 1 percent of all sports betting nationwide. In 2011, $2.88 billion was legally wagered in Nevada’s sports books; the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) estimated that illegal wagers are as much as $380 billion annually.  According to Yahoo columnist Dan Wetzel, there is no reasonable debate on any of this. “Fighting the legalization of something that is already so prevalent, and has always been so prevalent – let alone something that funds crime organizations rather than state budgets – is a testament to either entrenched ignorance or special interests.”
The movement to legalize sports wagering and gaming in other states outside of Nevada has slowly begun to gain momentum, but not without various forms of resistance.  For example, in a reaction to New Jersey’s plan to legalize sports wagering in January 2013, the NCAA announced it was pulling five championship events out of the state as punishment.  Gone are a swimming and diving event in Piscataway, part of the women’s hoops tournament in Trenton and some lower division volleyball and lacrosse championships in Montclair and Hoboken. The NCAA cited its policy of not staging any part of a national tournament in a state with “single-game betting.” [New Jersey, like Nevada, could still host conference tournaments and bowl games.]
“The NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for legalizing what occurs illegally every day in every state and often with the participation of organized crime,” Michael Drewniak, spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie said. “But the NCAA looks the other way for that? Ludicrous and hypocritical.” With such ignorance for the facts and obvious benefits of a legalized industry, it appears any progress made will be at a painfully slow, bureaucratic pace; which comes as no surprise. 
However, seeing the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington gives hope that lawmakers will follow suit with sports betting and internet gambling at some point in the future.  Until that day comes, online sportsbooks and casinos such as 5Dimes, Heritage, Betus, Bodog, and Northbet, will continue to prosper.

Online Gaming: The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

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