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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Legislation and Online Gambling

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DUDE! You’re busted! Well not quite. Online gambling is technically illegal in the United States. Internet gambling sites host offshore and the U.S. has no jurisdiction over them since the Internet cannot be nailed down to specific sections with borders.

While Internet gambling does not appear to be a problem in a lot of countries, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, keeps trying to find a way to ban it completely in the U.S. He apparently feels the massive growth, from 20 sites a decade ago to somewhere over 2,000 at present, is a huge problem and needs to be stopped.

Kyl attempted to attach an anti-internet gambling amendment to a Justice Department spending bill. His legislation would require banks and credit card companies to refuse payments to online gambling sites (that allowed a customer to use a credit card to fund their account) by stating it is illegal and they are not going to pay.

Kyl ran into Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD. Kyl’s legislation was not in order on the appropriations bill and Sen. Mikulski noted this on behalf of an unnamed senator that objected.

Kyl’s primary concern with Internet Gambling appears to be sports betting – undermining the integrity of athletic events, and the dangerous addiction it poses to children. "It is so addictive," Kyl said. "There is no supervision."

It is not known if Kyl intends to pursue the bill further this year but he vowed to continue his effort.

Other concerns come in the form of not being able to tax or regulate the huge amounts of money netted by Internet sites. And should each state be allowed to regulate gaming within its borders? The American Gaming Association, a trade group representing casinos, believes regulation should be with each state.
Is there an answer to the dilemma? Perhaps. What if the government realized and acknowledged that people are gambling, legal or not? What if the United States allowed licensing and servers for Internet Gambling sites within the borders of the U.S.? Legislators could then go about other necessary business like arguing over how they are going to spend all of the increased revenue.

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