gambling legislation in
the United States had not changed much since Congress passed the Wire
Act in 1961. This, however, only covered sports betting and not
casinos. There was also no World Wide Web or Internet Casinos during
Legalized Internet Gambling began in 1994 when the twin-islands Antigua
and Barbuda in the Caribbean passed the Free Trade & Processing
Act, allowing licenses to be given to companies for opening online
casinos. Legal casino betting continued to evolve through 1996, when
the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was formed. As a regulatory branch of
the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake in Quebec, Canada, they began
policing and issuing licenses to worldwide legal online casinos and
poker rooms. This marked the first attempt to regulate legal U.S.
online betting by providing fair and transparent operations.
In 1997 online gambling had exploded in popularity, with about 225
websites offering online casinos, up significantly from just over a
dozen such websites in earlier years. The Frost and Sullivan market
research report showed that way back in 1998, legal online betting
revenues had reached over $800 million globally. Legal poker betting
also began to appear on the Internet in 1998. Interactive multiplayer
world wide web gambling began a year later, allowing a community type
of experience, with the ability to chat with other players. Measures to
control land-based casinos in the past have worked as the casino had a
physical location. However, today casinos have moved online with no
real physical location. The question arises how legal are these online
In 1998 both MasterCard and Visa sued Cynthia Haines for money she lost
while gambling on an online
casino. She had lost more than US$70,000 to
an online casino and could not settle her account with the plaintiffs.
She filed a counterclaim well within the state laws of California,
which prohibited credit card loans for gambling whether it is online
casinos or bricks and mortar casinos. That case was settled out of
court. Many states have now enacted their own legislation, however,
casinos continue to move their gambling operations off shore to online
casino friendly countries. Gambling has increased drastically with the
advent of the Internet and online casinos. With huge profits and vested
interest in casinos there are also very strong lobbyists in government
to keep gambling unimpeded. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act,
which was defeated in 2000, shows how much vested interest there is in
the casino and gaming industry. Cyberspace is the last frontier when it
comes to laws governing casinos. With billions of dollars changing
hands around the world on online gambling today, sooner or later
legislation will be needed in order to exercise some form of control in
this ongoing Internet casino industry. Only time will tell how
long it will take for US legislation to catch-up with online casinos
and all forms of Internet gambling.
So, is Online Gambling
in the United States?
This is the one question that you will surely see answered in at least
a half dozen different ways while searching the Internet.
What you should know at this time is that most types of online gambling
are not illegal in any way for the player as all the liability falls
with the gambling operators. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Act (UIGEA) that passed in 2006 simply made it illegal for gambling
sites to accept money from U.S. residents for the purpose of wagering.
But since the U.S. has no jurisdiction over offshore gambling
enterprises, they simply ask that banks deny any potential transactions
with those operators. In doing so, U.S. residents do have a bit harder
time finding a viable deposit method such as credit cards like
MasterCard, Visa, Discover, etc. Since then, Online Casinos have made
it very easy for a player to deposit money. They generally offer
several different deposit options.
There are currently many changes going on with online gambling laws in
the U.S., and if you are truly worried about the legalities you need to
be sure to check the exact laws in your state before you gamble. Some
states including Delaware, New Jersey & Las Vegas, NV have actually
legalized online gambling. Residents from those states & possibly
others in the near future will want to make sure to use those gambling
sites that are regulated by the state in which they live.
The best news we can tell all American players to make them feel
somewhat better about gambling online is the fact that no U.S.
residents has ever gone to jail or has even been fined for
participating in this activity. What are they going to do? Arrest
millions of people who gamble
online every year in America?
Fact is, if it were truly an unlawful act, don't you think they would
actually physically stop residents from visiting these sites? You can
click any banner on this site and there will be nothing stopping you
from going to these sites or signing up for an account unless the
website itself forbids it.
For the foreseeable future it seems as though Internet gambling in the
US will continue to proliferate on a state-by-state basis, before a
federal law is finally passed. Be assured, a number of politicians,
lawyers and professional lobbyists are continuing the fight for virtual
gaming to be made legal across the United States of America.