Is Online Gambling Legal?
When people first started playing online gambling, it was considered a legal end-run around government controls. Because online gambling operators could set up shop in an offshore jurisdiction, anyone with a computer and a credit card could sign up for a site and place a wager. This caused the Congress and Department of Justice to explore regulation of online gambling. Eventually, online gambling became a popular activity. But is it legal? Is it safe? Are the stakes too high?
US gaming regulators have reacted slowly to the rise of online gambling. The Federal Act Wire of 1961, which outlaws interstate sports wagering, does not address online gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 disallows US-based payment processors to conduct transactions with offshore gambling sites. These regulations have forced most online gambling operators to move offshore. The US Supreme Court has yet to rule on the issue, but the current situation does not seem as dire as it once was.
One of the best ways to stay safe when online gambling is by avoiding online casinos that offer bonuses that can lead to losing your money. Before you decide to deposit your money at an online casino, make sure you read the fine print carefully. You don’t want to be caught off guard when you find a casino with a clause that will take you back to square one! Also, always make sure you know how to contact the online casino’s support team in case you have any questions.
Despite the ease and convenience of online gambling, there are some factors that can make it costly. The gaming industry preys on vulnerable people such as families and children. Problem gamblers can lose up to $20,000 per year, alienating loved ones and destroying lives. Problem gambling accounts for up to a third of gaming revenue. Fortunately, a few companies have stepped in to fund online casinos. The cost of online gambling can be low, or high, depending on the games offered.
The EU is working on a comprehensive framework for online gambling. In 2011, the European Commission issued a Green Paper on Online Gambling, which sought feedback from stakeholders on the existing EU market and the key policy issues raised by its growth. In February 2012, the European Commission published a Communication on Online Gambling in the Internal Market, which outlined a plan to improve clarity on gambling issues in the EU. This document sets out the main elements of this framework.
The economy of a state benefits from the economic activity associated with online gaming. Tax revenues from these activities are used to fund important public services. For example, in New Jersey, the gaming industry is responsible for filling dozens of hotel rooms, attracting visitors who spent money on the property and left satisfied with their experience. Although many people view the economic impact of online gambling as a negative, in reality it is beneficial for local communities.