How important will the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act be? Markets think pretty important.

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With news that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has passed the House, all eyes seem glued on Washington to see just how regulation of online gaming is going to change the industry.

Looking at stockmarket reactions, it seems pretty serious.

From today&#8217-s Guardian:

The online gaming industry&#8217-s bet that American legislators would never get around to outlawing internet games such as poker went spectacularly wrong yesterday. An estimated ?4bn was wiped off the sector&#8217-s value as share prices crashed after a weekend ambush by Washington.

Full story:,,1886369,00.html.

I have already heard of at least one major bookmaker – Australian-based Centrebet ( – already closing the accounts of US-based clients.

While these early stock-market reactions look pretty serious, my guess is that these sorts of laws tilt the competitive landscape away from the larger more legitimate operations (like those public companies based in London), and toward the smaller (and more legally &#8220-agile&#8221-) firms operating in a less transparent manner. So perhaps this stockmarket reaction somewhat overstates the impact.

Stay tuned for more&#8230- (Hat tip: Paul Tetlock and Sam Savage.)