The legal status of online gambling is murky at best in the United States. Federal Wire Act prohibits betting on sports over “telephone-like” devices. To operate within the US, online gambling sites must be licensed. While some states have made online casino and sports betting legal, many are based overseas. It is unclear which states will allow online gambling, but most agree that it is a growing industry that should be supported by the government.
The federal government collects income taxes from big winners in traditional casino games and lotteries. However, there is no tax collected for big winners of online gambling. In 2005, sports book betting accounted for one-third of the Internet gambling market. Online poker accounted for 18% of online gambling revenue, a faster growth rate than other forms of gambling. In 2000, PartyPoker raked in $82 million in revenue. While there is no hard evidence to support the theory that online gambling is a bad thing for society, it provides entertainment for many people.
One study found that 38% of people who began online gambling did so within a year or two of starting. Of these newcomers, almost two-thirds (63%) had already played poker against other people. Nearly the same number (68%) had played casino games for money, while only 6% had placed sports bets. Two-thirds of online poker players said that Texas Hold ‘Em was their favorite game. The least favorite game? Omaha.
Some online gambling sites offer free play to attract new visitors and let them practice their skills before deciding whether or not to play for real money. Once a person has decided whether to play for real money, they must open an account and enter personal information. After doing so, they need to choose a user name and password. They can then deposit the money into their online account or wire it to their account. These procedures are quick and painless, and the money is transferred via electronic check or wire transfer.
The Department of Justice has launched an offensive against the U.S. media, and has outlined its views on online gambling advertising. The legislation will make it harder for online gambling to grow and remain legal in the US. It will be interesting to see how this legislation plays out. If the U.S. government continues to regulate the online gambling industry, it will likely be the same for the rest of the world. It is also unclear whether the bill will pass the Supreme Court.
Another concern that many have regarding online gambling is whether it is legal in the country where the gambling occurs. While many states have legalized online gambling, this has not prevented unscrupulous merchants from obtaining credit card information. Unscrupulous online gambling sites often enter incorrect business codes, causing consumers to be denied their money. As a result, online gambling may become illegal in the U.S. in the future. And if this happens, online gambling should be banned.