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Internet Gambling Laws – US, UK and the World
Legal minds turned to internet gambling laws as a specialty when the industry went beyond growth and exploded into the public mind. “The law surrounding Internet gambling in the United States is murky to say the least,” according to Lawrence G. Walters, one of the attorneys working with gameattorneys.com.
In contrast, UK internet gambling laws have made life a little easier for providers and players. The passing of the Gambling Act 2005 basically legalized and regulated online gambling in the UK.
In an effort to prevent gambling from promoting “crime or disorder”, UK law attempts to maintain fair gaming, in addition to protecting young citizens and others who may fall victim to gambling operations. Unlike the US, which still clings to the Wire Wager Act of 1961, the UK has significantly relaxed decades-old regulations. A Gambling Commission has been created to enforce the code and license operators.
A whole different country
According to Walters and many other observers of the internet gambling law scene, the United States Department of Justice continues to consider all internet gambling to be illegal under the Wire Act. But there are details in federal law that defy attempts to blanket all online gambling.
The Wire Wager Act forms the basis for federal action on Internet gambling laws in the United States. The law was meant to supplement and support individual state laws, focusing primarily on “betting or wagering activity” using wired communication to place wagers or wagers on similar sporting events or contests. The law also comments on the receipt of money or credit resulting from such a bet. The keys are ‘business’, ‘cash or credit’ and ‘ease of wired communication’.
But as many advocates and proponents of fair Internet gambling laws point out, federal law does not specifically address other forms of gambling. This has left the law open to interpretation as it relates specifically to online casinos and the use of the World Wide Web to play online games.
October 13, 2006 is a crucial date in the controversy surrounding the legalization of gambling. For anyone who wants to understand internet gambling laws, the federal law passed that day is essential knowledge. President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which seeks to restrict certain “financial transactions” used for online gambling.
But even though current federal gambling laws may clearly define something as simple as a legal gambling age, the new UIGEA hasn’t settled all the dust raised around the gambling issue. money online. Lawyers such as Walters (and many others) have pointed out that the UIGEA seems to only refer to financial transactions and betting that are illegal where the bet or transaction is made. Some bets may be legal while others may not. It’s that simple.
The UIGEA has had some effect on internet gambling, as many successful companies have gone out of business, at least in the United States. In fact, with the passing of the law in 2006, most American online gamblers found they couldn’t play at an online casino or poker room for a short time. Many gambling providers have found ways to establish offices and servers outside of the United States so that they can invite American players back.
Now is the time to stop, take a deep breath, and turn to the internet gambling laws in the various states. Some have adopted their own rules and regulations (before and after the UIGEA). In a few states, companies cannot operate an online gambling business. In other states, it is illegal for an individual to place a bet using the web. Some legal experts argue that these individual state rules are unconstitutional since commerce across state lines should only be regulated by federal law, not state law. However, commercial online gambling businesses do not operate in the United States. If you wish to visit their “home offices”, you may need to travel to Malta, Gibraltar or Curacoa.
UK law 2005 generally allows remote sites such as these. The rules are not as flexible in the United States. However, a recent US appellate court ruling states that, in at least one case, an online gambling site did not violate state laws. Most legal minds are urging players and others interested in the matter to stay tuned.
Some have turned their attention to uncovering the benefits of legalized gambling, noting that this huge industry could be key to economic recovery in the United States. Central to their argument are examples such as the established lotteries run by various states, in addition to government revenues flowing into state coffers from riverboats and land-based casinos.
Part of this effort rests on the shoulders of over 100 legal representatives working for common sense in Internet gambling laws. This horde of lawyers is tasked with trying to keep the World Wide Web/Internet free from government interference.
Bob Ciaffone is considered one of the experts on the subject of gambling and poker in general, and on the transition to online gambling. He suggests that any regulation of web gambling should reduce competition from outside the US, so that US citizens would benefit in legal gambling states. His detailed plan would parallel the situation in the UK since that country adopted its 2005 rules. Ciaffone is also urging US lawmakers to separate internet gambling laws from the 40-year-old Wire Act, which has was adopted to control illegal gambling by telephone.
In essence, Ciaffone writes that the UIGEA tried to do the right thing, but they are doing it in all the wrong ways. The restrictions have severely handicapped what could be a great source of income with proper regulation, according to Ciaffone.
Consider a statement about the UIGEA from the world’s most recognizable poker player, Doyle Brunson. Although his comments apply to his favorite game of poker, they can easily relate to all internet gambling laws. He said, in essence, that his company had received good legal advice that internet poker is not “expressly” illegal. He encourages American players to learn the laws of their own state.
Although this brief summary only touches on the highlights of a large and complex topic, there are sources that have already compiled details for the various states. Check out these sites:
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