The Growing Legality of Online Gambling
During the last decade, online gambling has grown in popularity. Some online casinos are now able to offer players a plethora of games. Some of these sites offer free spins on slots and other games, and players can also use these sites to transfer money. There is a wide selection of internet gambling sites to choose from, and the majority of these sites pay lower taxes than land-based gambling establishments. In fact, some internet gambling sites do not even pay taxes to their home countries.
The National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimates that online gambling revenues approached $2 billion in 2000. However, despite the growth in popularity of internet gambling, there has been a lack of consensus as to its legality. Some state officials have expressed concern that internet gambling could be used to bring illegal gambling to their jurisdictions. Others have argued that the legality of gambling is a matter of state law.
A recent study found that sports book betting accounted for one-third of all Internet gambling in 2005, while poker grew faster than other forms of online gambling. However, most of the revenue came from lottery tickets, pari-mutuel race betting, and other games. The most popular locations are the British Isles, Central and South America, and Canada’s Native American reservations.
The United States Department of Justice, Christiansen Capital Advisors, and Bear Stearns & Co have each attempted to come up with a more accurate estimate of the size of the online gambling industry. However, all of these attempts have yielded mixed results.
The best way to determine the legality of internet gambling is to consult state and federal law. While state law is primarily concerned with gambling, federal law reinforces state law in cases involving online gambling. The federal law governing gambling is 31 U.S.C. 5362, which defines “unlawful Internet gambling” as using at least part of the Internet to place or receive a bet or wager. The law also provides that financial transaction providers can’t accept financial instruments in connection with illegal Internet bets. However, despite federal law’s best efforts to stop illegal Internet gambling, the industry remains largely unregulated.
The federal government’s attempts to combat illegal Internet gambling are being stymied by a number of factors, including interstate and foreign elements that are not included in state laws. For example, while the United States marshals have seized millions of dollars from the Internet gambling giants, they have not had much success in prosecuting the players in the case. While there is a debate over whether the most effective law enforcement tactics should involve state law enforcement agencies, the fact remains that the federal government has the power to prosecute individuals in connection with the crime.
The best way to avoid being caught up in the gambling quagmire is to play online gambling games using a secure web address. In addition, the security credentials of an online casino are usually top-notch. Some regulated online gambling sites use industry-standard 128-bit encryption to protect player information. Additionally, most of these sites use independent auditors to ensure that payouts are accurate.