Online gambling is any type of gambling conducted via the internet. This includes casinos, live casinos and online sports betting. The first online gambling site opened to the public, was Ticketworld for the German National lottery in 1994. Now there are hundreds of sites providing all sorts of online gambling, some of which are free to use and some of which charge a small annual or monthly fee. Sites may offer all types of gambling and some of them may only have games of chance while others may offer all kinds of different gambling games including slots, video poker and roulette.
The popularity of online gambling has increased because of the ease of using it. Anyone with a computer, an internet connection and an online account can log on and place a bet on any game they choose. Betting can be done at any time of the day and night as long as you have access to a computer with an online gambling website. Since there are a wide variety of games to choose from, there is something for everyone.
Because online gambling is a service that can be provided by anyone, the online gambling industry is very heavily regulated. All of the different companies involved in the business must conform to a set of strict policies that are put into place to ensure that the company remains profitable and that consumers have a positive experience when they play. Many of these policies and guidelines are designed to create long-term success rates and minimal risk. All of the payment methods that are used must be approved by the Gaming Commission to ensure that they are kept honest and that the company remains within a set of strict guidelines for operation.
While there are several state and federal laws regulating online gambling, the majority of these laws are placed upon the individual casinos themselves. As a result, many states have attempted to pass legislation that would regulate the gambling industry more stringently. However, in most cases these attempts have fallen flat, even losing the support of many representatives who voted against these laws. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed some form of a bill that would allow states to impose some tax increases upon the companies that operate online casinos, but the Senate is largely obstructionist and will not pass any legislation. Therefore, for now, all eyes are on the U.S. House to see if it will introduce additional bills aimed at increasing taxation of the online casinos.
The U.S. House has also taken aim at the U.S. Justice Department, which has not taken a position on the proposed UIGEA since the law was introduced. Many officials believe that the proposed UIGEA will interfere with the free market, and limit the freedom of people to make choices on which type of online gambling material they may view. While the Justice Department has not taken a position on the UIGEA, it has threatened to bring action against offshore gambling sites that do not follow the law. This would effectively shut down all online betting sites in the United States, since if the government starts cracking down on these sites, individuals will have no choice but to go where they are advised to, which may be a more desirable place to play.
As the UIGEA progresses, it is possible that the U.S. House and Senate will start discussing a full-blown version of the UIGEA. Should such legislation pass and be signed into law by the President, all online gambling sites would be subject to all UIGEA regulations, including all deposit requirements. For example, a UIGEA regulation could require that all players account holders provide a 10% unconditional deposit before they can begin playing. A player who does not comply could be forced to withdraw all their money from the site. This could essentially close down the online gambling industry in the U.S., causing many small websites to be completely closed.