Gambling online is any type of gambling conducted over the internet. This includes casinos, live casinos, poker and even sports betting. The first commercially available online gambling site opened to the public, was live ticketing for the maiden Lincen International Poker Tournament in October 1994. Since its inception the industry has grown into one of the world’s largest and most lucrative online gambling markets with over $3 billion spent online every year. The evolution of the internet has allowed for new types of gambling to be conducted, some of which are not covered under the traditional gambling law in the US such as online slots and video poker.
Because many people are now taking their gambling online and placing bets without leaving their homes, the amount of regulation that is necessary to protect the consumer from fraud and other illegal activities is being investigated more intensely than ever before. With more people placing bets and taking their gambling online, it is important that there is a larger capacity and greater power of the regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to police these companies. If the companies are able to move beyond the realm of real money gambling online, they may open the door to greater and more unregulated online gambling.
One issue that is being debated at the current time concerning the proliferation of online gambling sites is the legality of the transactions itself. Many states have enacted bills that would make online gambling sites out-of-state retailers illegal. Although there may be an interest in regulating the out-of-state retailers who do not follow all of the state laws, the United States does not currently have an interest in trying to regulate out-of-state businesses, even if the laws were passed by a popular vote in the state legislature. There is no indication that legislation will emerge that would legalize online gambling or create some sort of legal protection against the transfer of cash from an out-of-state business to an in-state business. The best chance for changing the law is through international pressure, since many states have looked favorably to passing laws that make gambling online illegal.