2016’s top gambling stories:
US constipated, ER, regulated markets
Only two US states made serious efforts to pass intrastate online gambling legislation in 2016, and neither was successful in pushing their bills over the finish line. This marks the third straight year of US regulated gaming inertia and nearly four years since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed his state’s gambling bill into law.
Pennsylvania came closest to legislative success, with the House approving its online casino, poker and daily fantasy sports bill in October. But the Senate opted not to hold a vote on the issue, in part due to online being just one component of an omnibus gaming measure, some aspects of which are even more divisive than online gambling.
California’s online poker backers appeared to make more progress in 2016 than in previous years, but while the state’s racing industry was finally bribed into acquiescence, the rest of the state’s fractious stakeholders proved as unwilling as ever to bridge their divide.
A late effort at California ‘compromise’ would have seen PokerStars subjected to a 10-year ‘bad actor’ timeout. This period was later reduced to five years, but PokerStars, its California partners and the Poker Players Association declared they’d rather see no poker bill passed than see Stars forced to sit on the sidelines, leading many players to wonder why their fates had to be so entwined with a single company.
Token efforts at online gambling legislation were made in New York and Michigan, while Massachusetts policy makers continued to hold meetings at which they reached consensus on the need to hold more meetings about reaching consensus on online gambling.