Estonia has jumped on the bandwagon of countries that are legalizing online casinos and gambling sites in recent months. This European country promises to make online casinos legal in the country starting on January 1, 2010. From the first day of the year, Estonians will be able to play casino games online such as online blackjack, casino roulette, craps, keno, online slot games, video poker and more for real money.
The new Estonia Gambling Act will recognize the licenses of online casino operators within the European Union. However, offshore casino operators located outside of the European Union will not be authorized to accept Estonian players. Foreign casino operators will have to apply if they want a license to operate their online casinos in Estonia. Licensing will be based on a number of factors. In order for a gambling operator to apply for a license they must be properly incorporated and well funded and they must submit to a background check.
Downsides to the legislation include the fact that ISPs will be required in order for the government to regulate online gambling and block access to online casinos that have not been licensed but continue to operate illegally, offering online casinos and online gambling services to people in Estonia. Additionally, foreign operators looking to offer online casino services in Estonia may have to pay a large fee for access to Estonian players.
The legalization of online casinos and Internet gambling in Estonia is a great leap forward for the online casino industry as a whole. As more and more countries follow in one anothers footsteps to legalize and regulate Internet gambling the industry is becoming more accepted and more profitable.
There is currently legislation on the table in the United States to regulate and legalize online casino games as well. New Jersey Senator Menendez has submitted legislation for the legalization and regulation of online skill games including poker with his Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Customer Protection and Enforcement Act. Additionally, House Representative Barney Frank is trying to pass a bill to legalize and regulate other online casino games including online casino roulette, online blackjack, keno, craps, online slot machines, video poker and other casino games. Perhaps Estonias passing of legislation to legalize online casinos as early as 2010 will set a precedent for the upcoming decisions in the United States.
Despite the fact that these laws have yet to pass, it is important to note that there are currently several online casinos that are authorized to operate within the United States. Rome Casino, for instance, offers safe and secure gambling for American players. Rome accepts a variety of payment methods for US players including American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Cash Transfer and a variety of E-Wallet services.
It will be interesting to see how the United States follows suit after Estonia and a number of other nations have passed legislation to legalize and regulate online casino gambling.