The 2001 Internet Gambling Law is legal
The online gambling industry in the United States continues to grow and the Virgin Islands has just announced that territory is now “open for business” and that gambling operators are welcome to set things up on the Caribbean shores.
The situation in the US Virgin Islands is quite similar to that in Nevada. The Internet Gaming and Internet Gambling Act was passed in 2001 but a letter from the US Department of Justice a few years later meant that the road to online gambling will not be so easy. With the DOJ claiming that internet gaming is illegal and banned by federal law, the plans were put on pause until 2011. This is when the Department of Justice changed its stance on the Wire Act and the green light to states wishing to legalize online gambling within their borders. The legislation in the USVI was brought back to light and the territory is now looking forward to regulated online gambling.
It is still uncertain which online gambling operators will set up shop in the Virgin Islands but the recent changes mean that there are now four US jurisdictions that offer legal online gaming. If we consider the soft launch in Delaware, two of the four states have already launched their own online gambling sites as Nevada has two online poker rooms up and running. New Jersey is also not far behind and other important gambling states can follow in the same footprints in 2014.
US Virgin Islands looking into interstate compacts
Shortly after declaring that the US Virgin Islands have regulated online gambling, the Casino Control Commission chairwoman Violet Ann Golden stated that they are already talking with other states which have legalized online gambling in order to share player liquidity. This includes New Jersey since it has the biggest population of all four jurisdictions.
The regulations only allow players within state borders to access the sites available within the jurisdiction in question, but an interstate agreement would make it possible for players from one territory to have access the sites in another state, and the other way around. This would help the industry grow by increasing the level of competition and will also help states with a smaller population get the much needed traffic.
The view in the Virgin Islands is even broader than interstate compacts as the head of the tech firm which will host online play wants to accept players from across the globe. This can give major offshore companies the option to set up in the Virgin Islands in order to get a foothold in the United States but also have access to the offshore markets. There is still plenty of work to be done before sites will go live here but it is certainly good news to see that online gambling is becoming legal in different parts of the United States.
According to the governor, the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission will implement the act as soon as possible so it shouldn’t take long for gaming licenses to be handed out to operators.