by Jerry "Jet"
May 18, 2006
Online gambling is a universal term for gambling using the
Internet. This article gives a brief introduction to
some of the forms of online gambling, as well as
discussing general issues. Online gambling is legal and
regulated in many countries including the United Kingdom
and numerous 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 crossways state lines.
There is no law keeping out gambling of any other kind.
Some states have specific laws against online gambling
of any kind. Also, owning an online gaming operation
with no 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 obstruct online gaming. The
Caribbean country won the preliminary ruling but WTO's
appeals body has partly reversed that favorable ruling
in April, 2005. The appeals decision efficiently allowed
state laws prohibiting gambling in Louisiana,
Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah. Though, 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 contradictory with the trade
body's GATS services agreement.
the legal issues
March 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John G.
Malcolm testified before the Senate Banking Committee
concerning the special problems presented by online
gambling. A major anxiety of the United States
Department of Justice is online money laundering. The
anonymous nature of the Internet and the use of
encryption make it particularly difficult to trace
online money laundering transactions. In February 2005
the North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill
to legalize and control online poker and
card room operators in the State. Testifying before the
State Senate, the CEO of one online card room, Paradise
Poker, pledged to move 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 plan on the
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