Saw this article in this morning's Wall Street Journal on the future of online gambling.
There's not a ton of breaking news here, but it reminds me that the key question for online gambling in the United States isn't a question of if, it's a question of when.
The country (and especially the individual states) are in a financial mess, leaving out the question of whether they should continue deficit spending to bolster the overall economy.
My assumption for the reason gambling bills have failed historically is that the costs to politicians in the form of angry voters outweighed the benefits they would receive in the form of economic growth + campaign contributions.
However, in an environment when funding for many programs will need to be cut, the relative significance of online gambling evils will continue to decline relative to other changes in play. By that I mean, the whiny losers who rain on all our gambling parades by decrying it as sinful will stop caring about it when we need to close schools and police stations (or more in line with their priorities, abstinence education or some other such nonsense).
With the costs of legalizing online gambling reduced, politicians can now feel more comfortable in pursuing the legislation. Indeed, that is what we're starting to see from states like New Jersey, who would structurally face lower angry voter costs thanks to their current legalized gambling.
Where does this play out? I'm hoping it ends with me being able to do in-game wagering on NFL games from my iPhone on Sundays whenever the NFL starts playing again (Although Apple's historically been another prude when it comes to this stuff, so maybe I'd need to buy a Droid). With Illinois in the financial toilet, it's my hope that that version of the future isn't too far off.