Fans of online gambling that live in the US have had a rough few years since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 (which severely limited their options as far as US friendly online sites to play at) but several promising glimmers of hope have already emerged in 2012.
Efforts to legalize online lotto sales and online poker got a big boost in late 2011/early 2012 when the US Department of Justice reversed its previous stance on the Wire Act and its impact on online gambling.
The US government had previously stated that it believed the Wire Act - originally passed to make placing sports bets over the phone illegal - applied to all online gambling, but the most recent ruling was that it can only be applied to sportsbetting.
That decision added fuel to efforts in several US states such as New Jersey, Nevada, and Connecticut that are considering passing laws to allow residents to play at intra-state online poker and casino sites. These sites would only be accessible to state residents and would have their own regulations to combat problem gambling and ensure security.
Efforts to change federal law to allow for online gambling have also been gaining steam, with US Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Harry Reid of Nevada reportedly working on a bill that would carve out online poker from existing anti-gambling legislation on the books.
Kyl was formerly a staunch opponent of online gambling but his stance has softened somewhat, faced with the potential economic gains US states would see from taxing and regulating online poker and the growing momentum to legalize it.
Also aiding the case to legalize online gambling in the US is a general softening of anti-gambling stances by many citizens and politicians, with more and more states looking to plug shortfalls in state budgets by adding or expanding gambling options in their states.
Both New York and Florida are taking a hard looking at building several huge Vegas-style casinos and resorts, while other states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania are poised to expand their existing casino locations.