Lifeline Of The US Online Gambling Law

In 1996 we saw an explosion of online casinos that swept through the whole world. The United States saw a huge increase in both online casinos and players. This huge increase of online players worried the land-based casino owners and they lobbied to have it stopped or at least slowed down. They knew if this pace continued they would see more of a decrease in profits. So they lobbied Congress hard and in 2006 the US passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (or UIGEA).

The UIGEA act prohibited all the banks and payment processors from processing any kind of transactions related to online gambling. This created a problem for players in loading and withdrawing money from their online accounts. While the companies continued to operate they had to use payment processors that could circumvent such restrictions. Despite all these laws related to online gambling, some online casinos continued to accept players from the US.

On the other hand, many of the bigger online brands left the US market, the choices for players became extremely limited. Many said it was very hard to find a good online casino. A lot of reviews sites started to pop up that directed players to the sites they so desperately looked for. Some of these sites were better than others, but they served the need that was created. Shortly after the market had started to stabilize and players were playing online again Black Friday hit the online gaming world.

Many casinos had found a way around the deposit and withdrawal problems and the online gambling world was growing once again. Many started to feel invincible to this new law. The government was not really enforcing it and it seemed like they had no intentions of doing so. This was certainly a false sense of security for both the players and online casinos. April 15, 2011, will go down in history as the day the online gambling industry was punished and punished hard. It was the start of a new era. The US Department of Justice charged the principals of the three largest poker sites Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker with bank fraud, illegal gambling offenses, and laundering billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds. The DOJ seized their domain names and their funds. Suddenly many US players were not just left with nowhere to play, but no way to recover their funds.

Black Friday forced many more gambling brands to leave the US. Everyone was once again scrambling to find new places to play, worried if they would ever get their money back, and wondering if anybody was going to stay in the US market. A major blow was struck to online gambling and many wondered if it would survive. Again the review sites played a major role in finding places for players to play. Now the market was very limited and it was a struggle to find online sites. Once again the market slowly started to stabilize and things settled down a bit. The market was damaged but survived.

Congress is Thinking of Allowing Online Gambling

It’s a question that’s come up repeatedly for discussion in Congress, and things are serious enough that legislation is actually being considered to legalize Class III gambling, the kind that they usually like for online gambling outlets – poker, blackjack, betting and roulette. Of course, lots of people are really encouraged by where this is heading – they love gambling, and they wonder why the government should stand in the way of people being able to run a little organized entertainment. And they hope that the government could get off their back once and for all. Those who are against this move sees the very involvement that the government has in the problem to be a sign that gambling is not entertainment – that it is an activity that comes with considerable baggage of social harm.

As minor a kind of gambling activity as these games seem to be, you do have to admit that no one mostly ever tries to kill themselves over non-gambling debts, or tries to run away from town or steal from their company. These happen so very often with debts that come out of online gambling, that one is forced to wonder whether this might be an activity that is irretrievably mired in something much worse than entertainment. The truth is, gambling is an activity that attracts terribly addicted people; other forms of personal entertainment usually do not land one in terrible debt. You may certainly consider online gambling a right to freedom of expression you hold that shouldn’t be tampered with. If really online gambling were just one more kind of entertainment, wouldn’t it be worth it to keep it away from the country simply for the several lives it would save, and the families it could keep together?

It is difficult to comprehend how online gambling can actually be be this dangerous; the fact is, when you have it on offer all the time in your own home, the ability to get addicted and to game yourself out of house and home is an ever present threat, and it can turn into the worst kind of gambling ever – even more serious than heading out to Atlantic City every weekend.

The problem with online gambling over the real world equivalent of it is, there is hardly any way that these businesses can be supervised by the government for fairplay. You could not leave it to the gambling website owners of course, because they could easily profit from defrauding the player. And most of the time, these websites are all in specific foreign countries where there are no laws that govern this kind of thing. But do you know what – Doyle Brunson one of the world’s biggest stars in poker, in his book, says that even the highest level of poker professional goes completely broke several times in his career. It’s just a part of the lifestyle. You have to realize that the gambling industry is one that deals in $400 billion in turnover worldwide. You wouldn’t want half of that to go out of the country if online gambling were legalized, now would you?

Effects of Banning Online Gambling

Everyone talks about the negative impact of online gambling, but they are not talking about the negative impact of banning online gambling.

A reason for banning online casinos was to make sure that underage children were not using thee parents credit cards to gamble online, but besides the fact that most online casinos did everything possible to ensure to verify the age of the account holder before allowing any gambling to occur, but by banning it you are only stopping the law abiding casinos from taking bets and not the less reputable casinos. They will use third party account like PayPal or Click2pay which provide a loophole in the new law.

By banning an activity especially such a popular activity as online gambling all that can be expected to happen is for people to find ways around the law, such as the Speakeasies of the 1920′s.

A Speakeasy was a nightclub that served Alcohol during prohibition and was usually hidden in the back rooms of pet stores and innocent looking book stores. Every time a speakeasy was raided the next night another one was opened, and this is what will happen with these online casinos. If the government finds one operating in the USA and gets it shut down or manages to stop the money flowing to it then another will open.

By regulating online gambling the government would know exactly who was running the casino to make sure they were running it honestly and within all the laws, and it would help make sure that the criminal element did not get rich and gain power a second time in the history of the USA because of a bad lawmaking decision.

Another reason given for the ban of online gambling was to help protect against a rise in problem gamblers from have casino gaming in your home 24 hrs a day, but no proof has ever been found that shows that people who would normally not be inclined to go to a casino and gamble would decide to do it just because it was now in their homes through online casinos [http://www.online-casinos-789.com] and poker rooms.

The facts actually show a steady rate of people with gambling problems and growing at the same rate it has been growing for over 25 years.

Many experts are now saying that there are some positives to the online gambling ban, but those positives would be even better if the industry was properly legalized and not, just by putting a mostly unenforceable law in place.

But this to be a pattern the government seems to always make, it is much like the war on drugs. Last time I checked thee was still a drug problem in this country even though drugs are illegal, yet in countries like Holland where the use of soft drugs like hash and grass are legal the number people with drug problems is much lower per capita then in the USA. This is because the money that is brought in the form of taxes from these sales goes to fund the public schools where they properly educate kids on the negative effects of these drugs, so most of the people who smoke are tourists and not the locals.

US Gambling Statistics Show Online Gambling Fun For Some, Dangerous For Others!

In the United States, gambling statistics show that live and online gambling has generated as much as $91 billion per year (as of 2006). The industry is responsible for billions more in related tourist income as well as the economic benefit of hundreds of thousands of jobs. In some states, gambling through lotteries is even used to raise money for college scholarships or much-needed infrastructure projects.

When it comes to the gambling statistics related to what kinds of games Americans are playing, there might be some surprises. While commercial casinos still take in the largest share of legal gambling revenue (43% in 2000), and lotteries take second place (28% in 2000), online gambling is estimated to bring in an amount that is roughly equal to what is spent in Indian casinos each year. As the internet reaches more homes, so does online gambling. And unfortunately, so do some of the possible negative side effects.

People who oppose gambling in general believe that it brings higher crime rates to an area. Of course, this isn’t eligible for online gambling, unless you consider the possibility of your financial information being misused or hacked. But this risk isn’t any greater with online gambling than with online shopping or bill paying.

What is a concern is compulsive gambling. Some statistics on online gambling have shown that about ½ of 1% of the population may have a problem with compulsive gambling. True compulsive gambling means that the person cannot control their impulse to make the next bet, even when they are risking their job, home, health, or relationships. And United States gambling statistics show that people are twice as likely to become addicted to gambling when a casino is located within 50 miles of their home. With the advent of online casinos, there is no longer any true distance at all between a gambler and a casino, meaning more people have the potential to become addicted to their favorite online gambling game at a higher rate than to live gambling or playing the lottery. This has lead opponents of online gaming to call it the ‘crack cocaine’ of the gambling world.

This problem has a serious impact for those who suffer from it, with compulsive gambling statistics showing that as much as 48% of the members of Gamblers Anonymous have considered suicide. And of those, more than 10% report having made a suicide attempt.

Plus, some opponents fear that there is a great deal of opportunity for money laundering and organized crime via online casinos. Since the US doesn’t allow any of them to be located in the country, companies have set up shop in foreign countries with questionable, if any, regulations. Some fear that US online gamblers may be unknowingly contributing to criminal activity.

However, for the majority of us, compulsive gambling statistics don’t apply. Online gambling is just another way to enjoy the internet, and perhaps to even earn some extra spending money! If you are able to set a limit on the amount you spend and stick to it, and if you don’t endanger yours or your family’s financial well being with the limit you set, then chances are you will not become one of the negative gambling statistics. But if you do ever find that your online gambling affects your work, your family, your health, your finances, or your social life, then you may need to seek some professional help.

Online Gambling

Online casinos

There are a large number of online casinos, in which people can play casino games such as Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, and many others. These games are played against the “house”, which makes money due to the fact that the odds are slightly in its favour. Some unscrupulous sites have been proven to offer rigged games, which are less mathematically fair than they appear.

Online poker

There are a large number of online poker rooms which offer various games of Poker, most commonly Texas hold ‘em, but also Omaha, Seven-card stud, and other game types. Players play against each other, with the “house” making its money through the “rake”.

Online sports betting

Several major bookmakers offer fixed-odds gambling over the internet, with gamblers typically betting on the results of sporting events.
A relatively new internet innovation is the bet exchange, which allows individuals to place bets with each other (with the “house” taking a small commission).

Funds Transfers

Typically, gamblers upload funds to the online gambling company, make bets or play the games that it offers, and then cash out any winnings. European gamblers can often fund gambling accounts by credit card or debit card, and cash out winnings directly back to the card.
Because of the questionable legality of online gambling in the United States, however, U.S. credit cards frequently fail to be accepted. However, a number of intermediary companies – such as Firepay, Neteller, and Moneybookers – offer accounts with which (among other things) online gambling can be funded. Casino operators and online poker rooms often offer incentives for using these ‘alternative payment methods’.
Payment by cheque and wire transfer is also common.

General legal issues

Online gambling is legal and regulated in many countries including the United Kingdom and several nations in and around the Caribbean Sea.
The United States Federal Appeals Courts has ruled that the Federal Wire Act prohibits electronic transmission of information for sports betting across state lines. There is no law prohibiting gambling of any other kind.
Some states have specific laws against online gambling of any kind. Also, owning an online gaming operation without proper licensing would be illegal, and no states are currently granting online gaming licenses.
The government of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses Internet gambling entities, made a complaint to the World Trade Organization about the U.S. government’s actions to impede online gaming.

The Caribbean country won the preliminary ruling but WTO’s appeals body has partially reversed that favorable ruling in April, 2005. The appeals decision effectively allowed state laws prohibiting gambling in Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah. However, the appeals panel also ruled that the United States may be violating global trade rules because its laws regulating horse-racing bets were not applied equitably to foreign and domestic online betting companies. The panel also held that certain online gambling restrictions imposed under US federal laws were inconsistent with the trade body’s GATS services agreement.

In March 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John G. Malcolm testified before the Senate Banking Committee regarding the special problems presented by online gambling. A major concern of the United States Department of Justice is online money laundering. The anonymous nature of the Internet and the use of encryption make it especially difficult to trace online money laundering transactions.

In April 2004 Google and Yahoo!, the internet’s two largest search engines, announced that they were removing online gambling advertising from their sites. The move followed a United States Department of Justice announcement that, in what some say is a contradiction of the Appeals Court ruling, the Wire Act relating to telephone betting applies to all forms of Internet gambling, and that any advertising of such gambling “may” be deemed as aiding and abetting. Critics of the Justice Department’s move say that it has no legal basis for pressuring companies to remove advertisements and that the advertisements are protected by the First Amendment. As of April 2005, Yahoo! has provided advertising for “play money” online gaming.

In February 2005 the North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize and regulate online poker and online poker cardroom operators in the State. Testifying before the State Senate, the CEO of one online cardroom, Paradise Poker, pledged to relocate to the state if the bill became law. However, the measure was defeated by the State Senate in March 2005. Jim Kasper, the Representative who sponsored the bill, plans a 2006 ballot initiative on the topic.

Problem gambling

Because the internet brings gambling right into a player’s home, there is concern that online gambling increases the level of problem gambling. In the United States, the link between availability and problem gambling was investigated in 1999 by the National Gambling Impact Study, which found that “the presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers”. If this finding is correct, it is reasonable to expect that easy access to gambling online would also increase problem gambling.

That same report noted the possibility that “the high-speed instant gratification of Internet games and the high level of privacy they offer may exacerbate problem and pathological gambling”. Bernie Horn, of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, testified before Congress that the availability of online gambling “magnifies the potential destructiveness of the addiction”.

Online Gambling Problems

The advances in broadband and wireless technology have made the world come together closer than never before. Now virtually everything is possible on the net-shopping, clinching business deals, social networking, and even gambling, the ever-favorite pastime of men. Online gambling first emerged in the early part of the 1990s and had become an instant hit, with an estimated 3000 online websites on the net today. It totally radicalized the gambling industry and has seen takers from across age groups. However, just like the land version, even internet gambling is fraught with problems. The addiction problem prevails in the online world as well.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder that leads to major disruptions in all areas of life: psychological, social, vocational or physical. It also includes the stage of ‘pathological’ or ‘compulsive’ gambling. Problem gambling is characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling. They have an urge to bet money more frequently and become restless or irritable, if anyone tries to stop. They usually are aware of the mounting, serious, negative problems but staying off the bet becomes the most difficult thing for them.

Online problem gambling is a manifestation of the aforementioned problems. But a study has shown that people who indulge in online gambling have more serious addiction problems than those who use the lottery or play slot machines. Online gambling problems are on the rise because of the explosive growth of the internet.

Causes leading to Internet Gambling

o The privacy and anonymous nature of the internet space has led to people taking to gambling without any hesitation.

o Easy accessibility of online games in the internet has led to people spending more time on gambling.

o Those who work on the internet most of the time can easily avail of online games. This gradually leads to addiction.

Signs of problem Gambling

o Gambling much longer than intended.

o Gambling until you spend the last penny.

o Using up incomes or even saving to gamble, while bills remain unpaid.

o Borrowing money continuously to finance your gambling needs.

o Neglecting your family and professional responsibilities.

o Stoop to stealing, cheating or selling household stuff to get gambling money.

o Gamble with the hope that it will solve financial woes or even win back losses.

o Relieve feelings of depression.

o They can easily set up a gambling account and there are a variety of forms of gambling – right from traditional betting, to casino gambling, lotteries and bingo. All this makes online gambling tremendously appealing.

o There is no time limit and in the absence of a supervisor, a person can go on gambling for up to 24 hours a day.

o As you play, there is a decreased perception of the value of cash and players frequently forget that they are playing with cash.

Online Gambling and its effects

Though many believe that legalized gambling is just harmless entertainment, but people already affected by it and continuous study results have veered on its deceptive nature. In fact, it is considered to cause even more harm than playing in a live casino building. The health and emotional difficulties associated with gambling disorders includes depression, circulatory disease, substance abuse and even risky sexual behavior. Recent studies have concluded that online gambling comprised basically of unmarried and younger participants over people who never gamble. Contrary to the fact that internet is associated with high education level and higher income strata, the study pointed out that online gambler addicts belong to lower education and income levels. Online gambling is one of the fastest growing addictions to afflict the youth today.

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a study wherein they found that 74% of online gamblers are problematic or pathological gamblers. Among this, the group that is most at risk is the teens. Online problem gamblers spend much more money on the online gambling websites than the amount teenagers spend on drugs. The worse bit of online gambling is its anonymity. Earlier, a person had to go to a gambling house in order to satisfy their urge to gamble and everybody knew how you fare or how much you lost. But now, you just walk into your office or bedroom and there goes your savings in thin air, and not a soul gets a whiff of it. The lenient regulation measures of the online gambling industry have only added on to the problem.

Treatment for Online Problem Gambling

Those addicted to online gambling need to take the following steps to avoid and get over such problems. Its very important to remember the onus of the entire treatment process lies, first and foremost, with you. You should wake up and take control, before you reach the point of no return. The first steps are always the hardest and once you can overcome them; the rest will be a breeze of air.

o Be honest with yourself and accept your problem.

o Manage your money and keep track of the amount you are spending. Gamers should remember to spend only what they can afford to lose. Chasing losses will only lead to a further downward spiral.

o Postpone your gambling urges. Next time you want to play, catch a movie or go out for dinner. Playing sudoku will take off your mind from gambling for a while.

o When you have leisure time, indulge in recreation that has nothing to with gambling.

o Use software to block access to gambling sites and make it password protected. You should not know the password.

o Get professional help as soon as possible.

Online problem gambling may affect anyone. One should be aware of one’s gambling behavior. There are many gory examples of problem gambling which should serve as eye openers for the affected. Any form of addiction is a choice. It becomes a disease because of your loss of control. Speak to your near and dear ones. Help is never far away. One precious lifetime is all you get, and it would be incredibly foolish to attempt to ruin even a second of it by way of unnecessary problems.