There is a new law waiting to be signed by President Bush which was presented to Congress that is holding the $12 billion online gambling industry by a thread. It appears that Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, introduced the bill on Saturday by joining it to the Safe Port Act before Congress took its election recess in November.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that is expected to be signed by President Bush, will practically finish off all online gambling sites by making it illegal for any bank, credit card company or online payment system to process any payments being made to online gambling companies.
The new law states that Online Gambling sites are now banned from accepting any type of check, credit card or electronic transfer payments for internet gaming in the US and seriously puts the industry in chaos.
Surprised at the passing of this new debilitating law, the leaders in the online gambling industry took drastic measures and started to trade off stock on the London Stock Exchange which erased $8 billion from the industry. PartyGaming, the poker world’s biggest online gambling site said that they would cease their ties with the 920,000 active US customers they currently have only when Bush actually signs the new act.
Although the new law hasn’t yet been signed, the industry is already being drastically affected. PartyGaming’s stocks alone have dropped 60% ending up at a measly .81 cents a share. Other sites like SportingBet and 888 Holding were also affected by the change and have since lost a lot of money on their shares. 888 Holding, for example, had a 48% decrease on their shares dropping them down to $1.42 on the British Market and announced that it was going to no longer continue its online gambling business in the United States.
This isn’t the first Act, however, that has given the federal government power to break down the online gambling industry. Under the 1961 Wire Act, the federal government has the right to brake down online betting in sports, poker and other casino games that are considered to be illegal under the law.
This is seriously debilitating the industries economy because the US consumer market is responsible for 50-60% of the online gambling revenue. These critical laws against the online gambling site owners are forcing companies to shut down or move out but what’s clear is that they are no longer welcome in the United States.
The Madam Chairman of the Interactive Gaming Council, Sue Schneider, has predicted that over 500 companies running around 2,300 online gambling sites around the world will be facing extinction and will most likely be wiped out of the industry all together. The small number of companies that manage to live through this incredible crisis will have to live with a huge cut back on their revenue and figure out new ways of growing again. The idea of opening up in the Asian market has become a favored idea for many.
Whatever the case may be, companies have 270 days after the bill is signed to figure out their plan of action before the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales decides how the law will be enforced.