Online gambling has been around for decades. For some it is a way to pass the time while others find it a very addictive pastime. However, the question remains: is it legal? Gambling is legal in the USA, but the laws vary from state to state. Some states have banned it and others have allowed it. Although some casinos are a good place to gamble, many are illegal and dangerous. There are some that are run by crime organizations.
While online gambling has existed in the US for some time, it was not until recent years that it gained a lot of attention. This interest can be attributed to its appealing features. Unlike brick and mortar casinos, online gambling sites are not subject to the same taxes that brick and mortar casinos are. Also, they are not taxed by the states they operate in.
The Internet and mobile devices have made it possible for Americans to gamble on their favorite casino games from the comfort of their own home. In fact, the growth of online gambling has been astronomical. It is estimated that by 2011, online gambling will be worth about $16.6 billion. Most of this revenue comes from high rollers.
Many online gambling sites offer free play to introduce visitors to the concept of wagering money on the Internet. They also allow customers to use credit cards, debit cards, e-checks, and wire transfers. These payment methods provide a way for gamblers to transfer funds to and from online casino sites without incurring additional fees.
While the online gambling industry has grown considerably, there are still rogue operators and some sites operate without the necessary licenses. Nevertheless, the industry is maturing and regulators are beginning to take notice. A number of states have begun to legalize online poker. Others are pushing to fix the maximum slot betting limit.
Several federal law enforcement agencies have taken steps to curb the activities of rogue operators. For example, the Department of Justice has indicted three of the biggest online poker sites in the country. Other regulatory efforts have been underway for several years. At one point, the Department of Justice tried to interpret the Interstate Wire Act to cover all types of online gambling. Sadly, the attempt did not pan out.
While the Department of Justice has done its part to keep the good guys in check, it has not taken the lead on the bad. Indeed, some criminals set up private tables at online casino sites and intentionally lose money to their business associates. Additionally, there are still many rogue casinos operating in the US.
In short, while the online gambling industry has been expanding, it has been slow to adapt to the technology of today. However, this has not stopped regulators from doing their best to keep the industry safe. And, it has certainly led to some very impressive achievements.
One of the more significant achievements in the online gambling space is the development of “affordability checks,” a nifty new system that requires casinos to run extensive background checks on potential customers. Failure to do so can result in seven-figure fines.