Online Gambling’s Time Has Come

Gambling may be one of the oldest human pastimes known. Even Neolithic sites have turned up evidence of gambling and Native Americans play gambling games that are thousands of years old. The legality of gambling depends on location; for example Macau is one of the largest gambling markets in the world but in the United States gambling laws can be quite prudish. As things stand right now internet gambling is illegal in the United States at the federal level. The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act put the kibosh on most gambling sites operating in the United States. In 2011 the federal government seized the domains of three major online poker operators and seized their assets. About two months later an internet bingo site was seized.

Because of the bingo seizure one popular internet bingo network based in Costa Rica shot down operations to avoid trouble with American authorities. Federal prosecutors brought charges ranging from gambling law violations to money laundering and bank fraud. Many saw the arrests as questionable and New York Senator Alphonse D’Amato said that online poker was not a crime since it was a game of skill. Current regulations allow states to offer intrastate internet gambling to residents. State by state gaming laws are a byzantine collection of conflicting laws and regulations.

So far three states have legalized internet gambling and more states plan to legalize online gambling. Federal attempts to legalize online gaming have been successful but recently a bill was introduced by New York Congressman Peter King. The bill titled the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection Act of 2013 would create “a common federal standard (to) ensure strong protections for consumers………make it easier for businesses, players, lawmakers, and regulators to navigate and freely participate.”

Many people say that prohibiting any form of internet gambling is hypocritical on the part of lawmakers. They point out that most states have heavily advertised lotteries with astronomical odds stacked against players. Concerns about gambling addiction ring hollow when states try to entice people to play games with odds of 1 in 175 million. (Powerball) Most experts believe that federal regulation of internet gambling is inevitable and believe that online gambling will be legalized at the federal level sometime during the next three years.