Internet Gambling, the Legalities and Side Issues

In the United States, casino gambling has been legal since the 1930's when the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill which legalized gambling in that state, even though it was the last state in the western portion of the United States to outlaw gaming of any kind in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. This occurred in 1910, when a strict anti-gambling law was put into effect. At that time the Reno Nevada State Journal displayed the headline "Stilled forever is the click of the roulette wheel, the rattle of dice and the swish of cards." But "Forever" only lasted a few weeks as secreted places were set up where patrons were given passwords to enter newly setup illegal underground casinos.   

These illegal gambling parlors flourished in Nevada until the legalization in 1931
The legalization legislated for the operation of gambling locations was calculated to raise much needed revenues for public education through the new taxes that would be collected. It is estimated that as of the end of 2012, forty-three percent of Nevada's general fund is nourished by the tax revenue that gambling brings in, and in excess of thirty-four percent of that is pumped into public education.

It took over forty years before Nevada's cities were the only places in the United States where casino gambling went on legally. But on November 2, 1976 the New Jersey State Legislature passed a bill that immediately made Atlantic City a strong competitor for the action out west. Only two years after the legal gaming law was passed, Resorts Casino Hotel was opened as New Jersey's first legal gaming venue.

Since then almost half the states in the country have passed one type or another of legitimate casino gambling laws including the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The only two states that don't offer gambling at all are Hawaii and Utah.

Additionally, casinos run by Native Americans on reserved land has also flourished across the country. States that now allow casino gaming as well as legal sport books benefit greatly by the taxes paid by the legal gaming establishments.

The advent of the Internet was a game changer. Legal gambling had found a new outpost attracting players already in the game as well as a salvo of new customers no matter where they lived. But just as illegal land-based gambling establishments operate across the country; illegal entities have always coexisted with them.

What happens on terra firma is only mirrored by what materializes online. Gambling entities have thrived on the Internet with questions of their legality the focus of a very grey area, not clearly specifying whether they are allowable or prohibited.

For the typical person it is not illegal to place wagers on the Internet, but each state has different laws addressing the subject. Sending and receiving money from these online entities seems to be the most difficult area to patrol. Allegations of wire fraud and bank fraud have been lodged in many cases and federal regulations are constantly changing and being challenged.

To read an article, posted last month on my Florida blog about a Parkland woman who pleaded guilty to a charge of a money laundering conspiracy relating to profits she received from gambling websites, click here.