Though Internet gambling remains a hotly debated topic within the gaming industry and in Washington, a majority of industry experts consider the legalization of online wagering a virtual certainty in the coming years, according to results of the annual G2E Future Watch survey released today at Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Nearly one-in-three (29 percent) thinks U.S. online gambling revenues would reach $18 to $20 billion by 2014 if online betting were legalized in the U.S. next year.
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These are just some of several key findings from the eighth edition of the G2E Future Watch Series, an original research product that highlights current and forthcoming trends within the gaming industry. “Internet gambling is an issue that continues to garner significant attention,” says Frank J. Fahrenkopf, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. “This year’s edition of the Future Watch Series considers how the legalization and regulation of online wagering in the U.S. might impact our country’s existing casinos, as well as Internet gambling markets overseas.” When asked when the U.S. will sanction at least some form of online gambling, 50 percent of those surveyed say legalization likely will happen during the next year or two, while about one-third (31 percent) estimate that three to five years is a more realistic timeframe. Interestingly, a full 75 percent of survey respondents think the legalization of sports betting is “very unlikely” in the next five to 10 years. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) both proposed legislation this year that would support the legalization of online games. However, according to the majority of those surveyed, movement on either bill is unlikely in the next year. Just more than eight-in-10 (81 percent) think Congressman Frank’s bill will stall, and 63 percent say Senator Menendez’s bill also will not pass in 2010. Despite concerns among some legislators, the experts surveyed are confident that effective safeguards can be implemented to combat fraud and urge responsible play online. Complete results from the 2009 G2E Future Watch Series are available at www.americangaming.org. This year’s installment features the results of interviews of 17 gaming industry experts, which were conducted from Nov. 3-9, 2009. The majority of those who participated in the survey have worked either directly or indirectly with the gaming industry for more than a decade.
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