The federal government has more or less successfully kept online gambling out of the U.S. by making it illegal for banks to process credit card payments for online gaming across state lines. Now, however, state budget shortfalls have caused some states to consider allowing online gambling, limited to residents of their state and playing on sites within the state.
Leading the way at the moment is New Jersey. A bill already passed by the state legislature is sitting on Governor Chris Christie's desk that would allow casinos in Atlantic City to set up and run online gaming for New Jersey residents.However, Christie has not tipped his hand on how he will respond to this bill, which must be signed or declined by March 6. A recent survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind found that, while New Jersey residents support casino, sports and race horse gaming, 67% oppose online gambling.
The Poker Players Alliance estimates that 15 million people already play online poker for money, dodging the federal law by setting up accounts with poker sites and funding them via e-checks, money orders or cashier's checks. The PPA is against intra-state poker, such as proposed in New Jersey, fearing it will limit the size of the pool of players. Some casino operators are also against it, projecting a decline in revenue as card players opt for the monitor over live face-to-face play.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the largest online poker sites are Poker Stars, operating out of the Isle of Man in the U.K., and Full Tilt Poker, headquartered in Aldeney, Channel Islands, also in the U.K.
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