Online gambling has become an increasingly popular form of entertainment. While some people perceive it as an activity they enjoy, others view it as a threat to their well-being. Nevertheless, if you’re planning to gamble, there are some things you should know.
The first web-based poker rooms were introduced in the late 1990s. By the end of that decade, online gambling had grown in popularity. There were about fifteen gambling sites available. These sites included Partypoker, PokerStars, and Full Tilt. In 2001, the numbers had increased to about eight million users.
While the number of online gambling websites was small, the amount of money being gambled on them was high. According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, the gross revenue for online gambling reached $830 million in 1998. This figure was even higher in 2008, when the internet-based gambling industry grossed $21 billion.
As internet-based gambling expands, it threatens to bring gambling directly into homes and businesses. Some lawmakers have raised concerns about the impact of Internet gambling. Others have expressed the belief that the Internet is a gateway to illegal gambling, particularly in states that don’t currently regulate it.
In the past, Congress has tried to address the issue of Internet gambling. The first effort involved the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which was introduced as a bill in the U.S. Senate in 1999. However, the bill failed to pass. Instead, the Department of Justice pursued an interpretation of the Interstate Wire Act, arguing that all forms of Internet gambling are illegal. Unfortunately, the department’s interpretation of the law proved to be incorrect.
Despite these efforts, the federal government continues to remain hostile to online gaming. Rather than legalize it, the Department of Justice has seized assets in cases of illegal online gambling. Several online businesses have also been accused of facilitating and abetting illegal offshore gambling.
One of the biggest hurdles to broader regulation of Internet gambling is the morality of gambling. Many argue that gambling is a harmless pastime, while others perceive it as a form of violence and a threat to their well-being. A limited First Amendment protection for crime facilitating speech may encumber objections to free speech.
Other factors have weighed into the debate, such as the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Federal law reinforces state law in most cases, but in cases where financial transactions occur within the United States, arguments of due process have lost much of their appeal.
It is worth noting that the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act isn’t the only federal law that has been challenged on constitutional grounds. An attempt to interpret the Interstate Wire Act as relating to all types of gambling proved to be a flop in court. Moreover, an attack on the Commerce Clause hasn’t fared as well.
As a result of the government’s actions, many states have reacted in different ways. Some have banned online casinos, while others have been willing to battle new developments. Those that have legalized online gambling include New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. But most lawmakers haven’t been as eager to legalize it. Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah, for example, have reacted less favorably to the idea.