Online casinos offer a wide range of casino games, including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette and Blackjack. These games are against the house, which earns money because the odds are slightly in their favor. Unscrupulous websites may offer rigged games that are mathematically less fair than they seem.
Many online poker rooms offer a variety of Poker games, including Texas hold’em and Omaha. The “house” makes its money by charging the “rake”, and players play against one another.
Online sports gambling
Fixed-odds betting is offered by We1Win several major bookmakers via the internet. Gamblers often bet on sporting events.
The bet exchange is a relatively new innovation on the internet. It allows people to place bets against each other, with the “house” taking a small percentage.
Gamblers typically deposit funds to an online gambling site, then make bets and play the games it offers. Then they cash out any winnings. European gamblers often have the option to fund their gambling accounts with a credit card or debit card and then cash out any winnings back to their card.
Due to the unresolved legality of online gambling in America, U.S. credit card applications are often rejected. Firepay, Neteller and Moneybookers are some of the intermediary companies that allow online gambling funding. These ‘alternative payment options’ are often offered by online poker rooms and casino operators.
It is possible to pay by wire transfer or cheque.
General legal issues
Online gambling is legalized and regulated in several countries, including the United Kingdom and many nations around the Caribbean Sea.
The United States Federal Appeals Courts ruled that electronic transmissions of information for betting on sports across state lines is prohibited by the Federal Wire Act. Gambling of any kind is allowed.
Online gambling is prohibited in some states. Online gaming operations that are not licensed would be illegal. Currently, no state grants online gaming licenses.
Antigua and Barbuda’s government, which has licensed Internet gambling entities, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization regarding the U.S. government’s attempts to block online gaming.
Although the Caribbean country won the preliminary decision, WTO’s appeals panel partially reversed its favorable April 2005 ruling. In effect, the appeals decision allowed gambling to be prohibited in Louisiana, Massachusetts and South Dakota. The appeals panel found that the United States could be violating global trade regulations because its laws regarding horse-racing betting were not equally applied to both domestic and foreign online gambling companies. A panel found that online gambling restrictions placed under US federal law were incompatible with GATS’s services agreement.
John G. Malcolm, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, testified before Senate Banking Committee in March 2003 about the unique problems that online gambling presents. Online money laundering is a major concern for the United States Department of Justice. Online money laundering transactions are difficult to track due to the anonymity of the Internet and encryption.
Google and Yahoo! announced in April 2004 that they would remove online gambling advertising from all of their websites. This was in response to a United States Department of Justice announcement. Some believe this is a contradiction to the Appeals Court ruling. The Wire Act relating telephone betting applies to all forms of Internet gaming and any advertising of such gambling may be considered as aiding or abetting. Critics claim that the Justice Department’s decision is illegal and should not be used to force companies to remove their advertisements. The First Amendment protects the advertisements. Yahoo! Yahoo! has offered advertising for online “play money” gaming since April 2005.
The North Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill in February 2005 to legalize and regulate online gambling and cardroom operators. The CEO of Paradise Poker, an online poker site, testified before the State Senate and promised to move to the state if it became law. The State Senate defeated the bill in March 2005. Jim Kasper (the Representative who sponsored this bill) plans to put the issue on the 2006 ballot.
Online gambling brings gambling into the home of the player, raising concerns about the possibility that it will lead to increased problem gambling. The National Gambling Impact Study in the United States examined the relationship between problem gambling and availability. It found that the presence of a casino within 50 miles of a player’s home roughly doubles the number of problem gamblers. This finding suggests that problem gambling could also be increased by easy access to online gambling.
The same report also noted that the “high-speed instant gratification offered by Internet games, and the privacy they provide, may lead to problem and pathological gambling.” Bernie Horn of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling testified before Congress that online gambling “amplifies the destructiveness of the addiction”.