Internet Gambling in 2012: Is America Still the Home of the Free?
Many people question the legality of internet gambling in this day and age. Some say it should be legal, that we are a free nation and should be able to do what we like. Others are staunchly opposed. It seems, however, that the laws really aren’t crystal clear on the subject. While the easy, “safe” answer to whether online gambling is illegal is “yes,” things get a bit more murky for those willing to take a closer, more in-depth look. Before we go into that, we just want to make it clear that, despite what the law may or may not say about online gambling, millions of Americans do it! Studies show that almost 12 million Americans gamble on the internet, and that some internet casinos and gambling companies bring in over $10 billion a year in profits!
One loophole that many have taken comfort in involves the Federal Wire Act of 1961. This act forbids “wagering via wire.” While the U.S. Department of Justice claimed for many years that this included internet gambling, that view was overturned in December of 2011. The Department of Justice researched the matter and found that the law referred to sports gambling and wagering and was put in place to put an end to organized crime. Obviously, casino games don’t fall into this category and thus should not be outlawed when played online. This realization was a major step toward legalizing gambling in the US and, with a few more of those steps, all online gambling should hopefully be legal soon. While the Department of Justice still finds ways to get online gambling sites in trouble, the gamblers themselves are usually quite safe.
It is also important to note that American authorities only have authority over casinos that are actually located in the United States. For this reason, many online gambling sites choose to take their business offshore. Costa Rica, Australia and other places where gambling is legal and legitimate are major hot spots. Sadly, though, some officials are trying to make that an issue too. Back in 2006, Congress made it so that American banks cannot make transactions with online gambling houses. The majority of casinos just plain don’t listen to those rules or find ways around them.
So, gambling, at least as it pertains to the internet, is partially legal and partially illegal. If you are a gambler yourself and are wondering what you can do, your best bet is to support online gambling. Use your dollars to show those in charge how you feel about gambling. Hopefully, if enough people take this stance, legal officials will listen!