Online Casino – General Legal Issues
By: Natalie Aranda
The increasing growth of online gambling industry surpasses all the expectations when compared with land-based casinos and betting places. From the times when Internet Casinos, Inc., the first virtual online casino started operations back in 1995 until nowadays, not only the effects of online wagering on the established land-based industry came up, but also the need of broadening gambling laws and regulations.
Most of the online casino companies are located outside of the United States to avoid government prosecution because the United States Federal Appeals Courts has ruled about the Federal Wire Act prohibiting electronic transmission of information for sports betting across state lines, but there is no a specific law prohibiting gambling of any other kind. In fact, several states rule in favor of land-based gambling but having specific laws against online gambling of any kind.
While the internet has no frontiers, gambling seems to be ruled by physical country delimiters-boundaries. Gambling is legal and regulated in Caribbean Nations and most European countries, such as Malta and the United Kingdom from where wide arrays of online casinos operate.
However, in America, law says that owning an online casino or gambling related business without getting a license first may result as an illegal act, but if any individual would be willing to get one, however there are no states nationwide that are currently granting online gaming licenses, and regulations vary from state to state.
Government of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses Internet gambling entities, sent a complaint to the World Trade Organization regarding the U.S. government’s actions forbidding online casinos and gambling activities. They won the preliminary ruling but later the Word Trade Organization’s appealed and partially reversed such ruling in April 2005.
The appeals panel decision allows state laws prohibiting gambling in Massachusetts, Louisiana, Utah and South Dakota, but ruled that the United States may be violating global trade rules as well, coming as the result of the American laws regulating horse-racing bets because equitably to foreign and domestic online betting companies is not applied.
With this panorama, online casinos await ruling; decision full of ambiguities as the global gambling online regulations. The Caribbean panel held that several online gambling restrictions imposed under American regulations have been inconsistent related to the trade services agreement with the body’s GATS.
The economics of online casinos are amazing in comparison with land-based casinos costing up to $300 million to build, while online the cost can be as little as $1.5 million, but US Federal Laws insist to say that gambling is “risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance”.
On the other hand, traditional casinos may employ thousands of individuals, while an online casino is easily operated by less than 20 and not necessarily located in the same place, causing an economic impact due to the loss of jobs; so many people believe the regulation benefits the national workforce.
Except for the gambling sponsored by the state, including riverboat gaming, horse racing and lotteries, an online casino is forbidden all over the United States.
Natalie Aranda is a freelance writer. She writes about sports games and entertainment. For Online Casino safe list, visit http://www.casinosafelist.com.