The Legal and Illegal World of Online Gambling
Depending on where you live, online gambling can be both legal and illegal. In many cases, the law may require you to register at a casino before you can gamble, while in others you can participate in online sports betting without ever setting foot inside a brick and mortar establishment. There are also laws regulating online poker, and some states even have legislation of their own.
The first online poker room was established in 1998. Partypoker was the largest active site at the time. In 1999, multiplayer online gambling was introduced. A Frost & Sullivan study reported that the global gross win of gambling in 2008 was about $400 billion.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is a good example of an online gambling licensing authority. This agency is responsible for overseeing licensed operators and enforcing the rules. Some nations in the Caribbean also allow online gambling, and it’s legal in some provinces of Canada.
The same Frost & Sullivan study estimated that the online gambling industry earned revenue of nearly $830 million in 1998. The Department of Justice attempted to interpret the Interstate Wire Act as covering all types of Internet gambling, but this failed in court.
Using the Internet to place bets on horse races and other sports is legal in most states. However, the United States government remains adamant about its position on online gaming. The Department of Justice has filed indictments against the founders of three of the most popular online poker companies, but it has not been able to enforce its rules.
One of the first and most exciting developments in the world of online gambling occurred in Nevada. The state became the first to offer legal online gambling. The enticing prospect of betting on your favorite teams without leaving home was a boon to the state’s coffers. But the federal government was not all too interested in the idea. In fact, the Department of Justice argued that all forms of Internet gambling are illegal.
The House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on wagering policies. In response, Virginia introduced online sports betting. It was not until May that the legislation made it into law. In the meantime, eight sportsbooks were already up and running in Virginia.
Another notable achievement was the introduction of the Liechtenstein International Lottery. This was the first venue to offer a fully interactive online game to the general public. The website had over 8 million visitors by 2001.
The most interesting development in online gambling took place in the late 1990s. Although there were only about 15 gambling sites at the time, the number increased to 200 by 1997. Several games, including blackjack and roulette, were available. The most interesting aspect of this new development was that anyone with a web browser could place bets.
The best part of all was that players could withdraw their winnings in a matter of minutes. Some sites offered both types of gaming, while others focused on just slots or baccarat.