While illegal gambling on the Internet is generally an issue for state law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission has noted that the Internet poses additional legal challenges. The federal government has weighed in on the issue by requiring Internet operators to follow the law, but this is not always the case. In addition, federal law may be difficult to enforce, since the federal government’s role is more indirect than it is in the realm of state law. Nevertheless, the federal government’s efforts to enforce the law are commendable.
Recently, the Department of Justice has launched an offensive against the U.S. media and Internet gambling companies over allegations that they violate the law. While the Department of Justice has not yet filed charges against individual Internet gambling operators, the organization has warned other online gambling sites that their advertisements may be unlawful and that it may face prosecution. The case centers around a California woman named Cynthia Haines. Haines charged over $70,000 in losses to her credit cards in online gambling. However, the Providian National Bank filed a lawsuit for non-payment. Her lawyers argued that the bank’s profits stemmed from her illegal gambling activities. In 1998, casino gambling was illegal in California. Hence, Haines’ attorneys argued that the debt was void because the bank had entered into an illegal contract with her. However, Providian paid $225,000 in attorney’s fees, and decided to no longer process any transactions with
The World Trade Organization is a multilateral trading organization that sets up and enforces trade agreements among member countries. Several countries have sued the U.S. over online gambling, claiming that it undermines their economy. However, the World Trade Organization ruled against the United States in 2004 after considering the economic impact of online gambling on Antigua and Barbuda. The United States refused to change its position on the issue, citing the legal risks associated with it.
Some websites allow users to practice the games for free before depositing real money. To play for money, visitors are required to open an account at the gambling website and input their personal information. To ensure that their information remains private, they must choose a user name and password. Users can also choose to transfer money from their credit card or debit card to their online account. A verified check will be sent to the winning player. If online gambling is addictive, it may not be for everyone.
A recent Harris poll of 2,985 adults in the United States and Great Britain revealed that 38% of internet gamblers have started playing online in the past year. While almost half of them played poker against other players for money, fewer people placed bets on sports. Most online poker players preferred to play Texas Hold’Em, seven-card stud, five-card draw, and Omaha, while one-fifth said they had never tried any of these games before.