Online Gambling Legislation
In a study by the Annenberg Adolescent Communication Institute, more than 400,000 male youth reported that they gambled for money at least once a week. The study found that more than 1.7 million gambled at least once a month. While online gambling is not entirely risk-free, it is relatively safe and lucrative if done properly. In addition, the internet allows people to play games anytime, anywhere, from the comfort of their home.
The first attempts at legislation to regulate online gambling came in the late 1990s. In 1996, there were fifteen gambling websites. By 1997, there were 200. A Frost & Sullivan report showed that online gaming revenues exceeded $830 million that year. In 1998, the first online poker rooms were introduced. That same year, the US Senate introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which would have prohibited U.S. citizens from gambling on websites operated by foreign firms. In 1999, multiplayer betting became an option for online players.
However, there are a number of other restrictions for online gambling in many countries. The Federal Act Wire of 1961 bans interstate wagering on sports, but does not ban other forms of gambling. In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 disallows payment processors from participating in online gaming transactions. The stringent regulations have forced most online gambling operators to move their operations offshore. This has made online gambling even more popular and attractive.
While many countries ban online gambling, other nations have made it legal. The United States and Canada have long recognized the value of gambling. The United Kingdom has passed legislation banning the practice in the US since 2008. A bill introduced by Senator Jon Kyl and Bob Goodlatte would restrict online gambling. While it would exclude state lotteries and horse races, it was never enacted. In the United Kingdom, a bill called HR 2046 aimed at modifying the UIGEA would require internet gambling sites to be licensed. A similar bill was introduced by Representative Barney Frank in 2009, and a few others have been introduced since.
While many internet gambling sites do not pay taxes to their home countries, they do pay lower taxes than land-based gambling establishments. In March 2005, Antigua was the headquarters for 536 gaming websites and required 3% of their gambling revenues. In addition, the legislation required players to pay a monthly cap of $50,000. Other popular locations for online gambling include South and Central America, Canadian Native American reservations, and the British Isles. In contrast, online casino companies do not pay taxes to these jurisdictions, but they do not disclose sensitive financial information to casinos.
Some states still prohibit online gambling, including Idaho. The US Supreme Court ruled that the activity is illegal in the state. But, Idaho and Utah are both home to a large Mormon population. This has made online gambling illegal in the state. The law is not an issue in these two states, and despite the lack of regulations, it remains illegal in all of these states. If you want to gamble, visit your primary care physician and discuss the risks with a licensed addiction counselor.