In light of the recent U.S. online gambling reforms, Optimal Payments, a leading online payments processor and solutions provider, is optimistic that at least 10 U.S. states will legalize online gambling. This therefore will open more doors for their planned re-entry into the U.S. online casino industry, starting with Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment. This is in spite of the $136 million penalty paid to the U.S. government in 2007, by Optimal Payment’s e-wallet brand Neteller, for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The States of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware now recognize Internet gambling as legal, while the U.S. Department of Justice came out with a memorandum in 2011, which stated that its interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act refers to online sports betting only. However, there are those who give advice that a repeal of the specific UIGEA law might be required; thus, it is necessary for banks, payment processors and other financial institutions to secure legal opinions. This is in view of the fact that the United States Department of Justice is more concerned about the difficulty of tracing online money laundering transactions, via the Internet and with the use of encryption.
Moreover, the three U.S. states differ in terms of what their respective laws consider as legal Internet-based gambling. The State of Nevada for one recognizes only online poker, to which other U.S. states may follow suit in the event that gambling online becomes legal in their jurisdiction. In New Jersey, the law considers sports betting activities as illegal, while some U.S. states specifically prohibit video slot machines. Moreover, payment processors, banks and other financial institutions must also look into interstate compacts, including the extent by which each state will allow its residents to engage in state-to-state Internet gambling.