Is Online Gambling Legal Or Illegal?
Online gambling is any type of gambling conducted online. This includes casinos, virtual poker and even sports betting. The first online gambling site opened to the public, was ticketing for the first ever Liechtenstein International Poker Tournament in October 1994.
Gambling is a very serious business, with many different types of regulations covering all the different types of games. For example, licensed brokers are required by the US Department of Justice to maintain regulated casinos. These brokers help the licensed gambling companies to run their business properly. Licensed online casino operators are subject to federal and state laws covering gaming, money laundering and criminal record background. These licensed online casino operators are also subject to the laws of the state, and their operation of the sites is subject to regulation by those states.
In the past, before the Internet, online gambling was conducted entirely in the gray area of state law with no federal regulation. However, in 1998 the US Congress passed the Law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which transformed the online gambling industry. The Act contained a revenue sharing provision, which allows the states to apply taxes on the income from gambling online. This was a crucial step towards encouraging online gambling and establishing regulated markets.
Today, virtually every state has some type of online gambling law. In general, the United States has imposed some type of ban or regulation on sports betting and on some form of online poker. However, there are no federal laws that directly regulate the activity. Many of these states have taken action against individuals who conduct gambling online, including by suing them in federal court.
However, some states, such as New York, actually have laws that do not make gambling online illegal, but rather restrict the activity. For example, the state of New York protects its online gambling sites against actions by third parties. Similarly, the states of Delaware and Nevada have proscribed the transfer of virtual money or credit on behalf of a gaming site. The problem is that even when the laws technically pertain to gambling, the impact on the free market for gambling online is far-reaching. It is the very nature of the Internet that makes it susceptible to government regulation and this has certainly implications for the future of the Internet and the United States as a whole.
Today, many online gambling sites are run by offshore business operations. In other words, an offshore company owns a number of different online gambling sites. Many of these companies have no desire or interest in staying within the bounds of the US government. Because of this, it is unlikely that the US government will ever impose a total ban on online gambling. The likely scenario, therefore, is that the ban will only be implemented in a selectively-fashion, and enforcement will depend largely on the discretion of the officials in the jurisdiction where the site is located. Given that a large amount of money changes hands each day between real money gambling sites and offshore entities, the possibility of law enforcement officials being pressured into taking action based on political reasons is not inconceivable.