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Gambling And The Internet

Aug 7, 2008
Not long ago, the United States government declared that its citizens were banned from participating in online gambling websites whose proprietors were located overseas. The US has a reputation as a gambling-free country, despite obvious exceptions in State law such as in Nevada and California, however as the internet grew and grew over the last two decades it became clear to government officials that their citizens were able to gamble illegally through their dial-up or wireless networks.

The question has become quite rife with controversy since the illegality of such an act is obviously so dependent on the nation in which it is being committed. Does the internet offer a virtual portal to other countries with different laws, or does a American (in this case) remain under US law while present physically on US soil?
The problem that US officials face is that the internet does in fact provide an outlet into other countries, but there is no legal way of declaring to what extent this outlet exists. No travel visas are required, no permission, simply a few clicks on the mouse and away you are whisked to look up information, chat with people, buy and sell merchandise and, of course, gamble.

Many people believe that if the proprietors of an online betting website are located in a country that allows this kind of gambling, anyone using the website is completely within the law despite any local country laws that would claim otherwise. Online betting sites in the United Kingdom were immediately calculating the money they stood to lose from US members withdrawing from their sites, and it totalled millions.

Unexpectedly, however, US members retained their online betting membership with such websites and continued using as before, thereby ignoring their own country's ruling.

Surely, since there is no simple way to deal with these offences and properly enforce the no gambling law in certain US states, the US and other countries who have only recently discovered the odd conditions of internet legality will be forced to find new methods of internet tracking or simply allow the internet to exist as it is: a free, worldwide virtual nation in which everything and anything is acceptable. Online betting must certainly be the least of a government's worries when looking at internet content, one would assume? Unfortunately as of yet there has been no real decision one way or another in terms of this issue.

Online betting, as with traditional types of betting in years gone by, is just one of those eventualities that it seems we must all realise is here to stay. When gambling is considered legal in certain parts of a country that has deemed it not so, the public can be forgiven for any confusion or plain ignorance of legalisation against the practise online. As most people know, what happens on the internet, stays on the internet!
About the Author
Stella Stevens is an expert in the online betting and gambling industry.
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