Americans Dominate Online Betting

Despite of federal law, someone can place a bet on casinos today just as easily as they could find alcohol during the prohibition. People can’t yet drink via the internet, but they sure can gamble.

Casinos betting USA, poker betting and casino-style games have prospered on the Internet since 1995, with an estimated 2,000 or more sites taking place a bet at the time Congress passed the Unlawful Internet gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. While casinos place a beting was already banned in most of the United States, the new act meant to avert it by restricting financial transactions from taking place among bettor and operator.

The 2006 act, joined with Justice Department apprehensions of several online gaming operators on visits to the United States, led some major firms to cease serving U.S. customers. But people connected to the gaming and financial industries claim plenty of opportunity remains for any American who wants to place a bet by the internet, as anyone searching the Internet can attest.

The same type of bets take place in Nevada, but oposition to Internet gaming worry that the online form is much more available to minors, that it is more addictive and open to involvement by organized crime. They’re concerned about its wide accessibility, which is the very thing that makes attempts to control it so difficult.

“Given the freedom of the Internet, though there have been attempts to limit or prohibit the activity, their efforts frankly are useless,” stated Michael Waxman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet gaming Initiative. The group represents England-based financial firms that would favor to witness online gaming licensed and regulated, as it is in the UK.

Hundreds of online operators are established in the Caribbean and in other places, where they claim the U.S. ban does not apply to them. They set up accounts for customers who send checks, wire their cash payments or use payment-processing services that are also based outside the United States.

So while gaming-coded transactions were obstructed by some U.S. banks and credit card firms soon after the 2006 law, and more will take that step now that federal regulations took effect Jan. 19 to implement the law, such acts fail to stop the activity.

American Bankers Association Vice President Steve Kenneally stated the law primarily has an effect “on the casual user who might try to place a bet on the Super Bowl with a credit card. … It definitely puts a hurdle in front of you if you want to place a bet, but if you want to do it, there’s definitely a way around it.”

The bonus for players is that federal and state laws generally only make it illegal to accept place a bets, not to place them. Legislation will be reintroduced in Congress this session by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to license, regulate and tax the operators, but with no indication that Democratic congressional leaders or the Obama administration will back it.

One impact from the U.S. government’s crackdown on the activity is it has removed Americans’ access to some of the larger, more reputable firms that formerly served them, according to Joseph Kelly, a business law professor at State University of New York College at Buffalo. gaming-related firms listed on the London stock exchange backed off after 2006, for example, while less reliable operators filled the void, he stated.

Mr. Kelly helped develop regulations of Internet gaming used by the government of Antigua, and he stated consumers would be better off dealing with firms based there, in England or other well-regulated countries.

Meanwhile, state legislators in Delaware and New Jersey have discussed trying to license casinos betting in those states, a move seldom considered in the past. It would be in reaction to their loss of other gaming revenue, as Pennsylvania’s slot machines have taken away customers from Atlantic City’s casinos and Delaware’s slots parlors.

One way or another, it seems apparent that any future Steelers Super Bowl — like any sporting event, only moreso — will keep drawing place a bets in some form.

As Mr. Kenneally of the bankers association observed, “There’s still casinos around, and gaming’s been illegal for centuries.”

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