US Online Gamblers spent $2.6 Billion Last Year

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Despite the fact that only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware offer legal forms of online gambling, US residents spent $2.6 billion wagering over the internet in 2012. This number comes from the American Gaming Association (AGA), which believes that the US federal government needs to regulate online betting to create a safer environment.

In the past, the American government has treated internet gambling as a criminal enterprise which should be kept out of the US. However, this hard-line stance has slowly been shifting ever since 2011, when the US Department of Justice stated their belief that only sports betting should be prohibited.

Online gambling made huge strides in the US this year, when Ultimate Poker became the first legal real money poker site in America. Just this month, WSOP.com became the second online poker room to open, and many others are in the works.

But the problem is that these poker sites are confined to residents and visitors of Nevada. And while New Jersey is expected to get their internet gaming operation up and running soon, these states only represent a small portion of the US population.

Because of this, the American Gaming Association has continued their efforts to get federal regulation instituted. At the very least, they’d like to lobby more states to allow legal online gambling.

One of their recent moves to make this happen involves the movie Runner, Runner. Released on September 26th, this film tells the story of a college student who loses his poker bankroll to a corrupt online poker site. He then travels to Costa Rica to get his money back, only to become the poker room owner’s right-hand man. He soon succumbs to a world of quick money and temptation, all with the US authorities hot on his trail.

The AGA hopes to spin this seemingly negative look at online gambling into a cautionary tale for why the US needs federal regulation. And the recently released $2.6 billion figure should help aid their cause too.

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