Internet gambling is a $100 billion dollar a year business here in the U.S., despite the fact that it is all very much illegal. Apparently Congress is finally catching onto the idea that banning something millions of Americans enjoy responsibly isn't the best way to handle things. Chairman Barney Frank of the House Committee on Financial Services today announced their intent to put forward new legislation tomorrow in order to establish a method of licensing online gambling operators.
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This new bill would effectively legalize online gambling in the United States. It will also establish a regulatory framework around the industry, with the express goal of stopping some of the problems that surround gambling. Consumer protections, safeguards against compulsive gamblers, protections against underage gambling, money laundering, fraud, and identity theft were all listed.
"Despite the current prohibition, millions of Americans wager more than $100 billion annually with offshore Internet gambling operators. Rather than tell Americans what they can and cannot do online in the privacy of their homes, Chairman Frank's approach to regulate Internet gambling would protect consumers and allow the U.S. to generate billions in new revenue to fund critical government programs." said Jeffrey Sandman of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.
Sandman represents the interests of a lot of different companies, all of whom will benefit hugely when Internet gambling becomes legal. Sites that now have to limit their business to nations outside of America, as well as casinos looking to improve their revenue by opening an online storefront, will all benefit hugely from this law.
I'd be willing to bet the major app makers are already gearing up to create gambling apps for the current generation of smartphones. Millions of Americans are going to want the ability to play a few hands of poker or try their luck at the slots from the convenience of their smartphones. Money is going to pour into the first developers to capitalize on this, and I have a feeling that the Gphone is going to be at the head of the pack.
I doubt that the iPhone will be the first smartphone to support gambling. They've got the family demographic to be concerned with, and gambling has significant stigma attached to it. I think it's much more likely we'll see an open-source Gphone gambling app before we see the Apple Corporation endorse gambling.
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Then again, they just might surprise us.