Key findings

  • States are moving to legalize online gambling, long barred by state and federal laws. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have begun licensing Internet casinos, and seven other states are debating the issue.
  • The moves follow lobbying campaigns offshore online gambling companies that have reached agreements with the Justice Department over allegations of operating illegal gambling in the U.S. Since 2005, the companies and their founders have funded a "grassroots" group called the Poker Players Alliance, which represents 1.2 million members and has spent millions of dollars lobbying to legalize Internet poker.
  • A colorful cast of characters — including Sheldon Adelson, the most prolific donor of the super PAC era — are now lobbying politicians in Washington D.C. and state capitals to either approve or ban Internet gambling.
  • Opponents of legalized gambling warn that allowing people to place wagers from their phones and laptops could lead to a jump in gambling addiction, which already afflicts millions of Americans.