Legal considerations regarding online gambling can be quite complex. At both the federal and state levels, different laws exist that define gambling in different ways – some states have banned all forms of gambling while others allow some forms. Each individual state ultimately determines how it regulates this industry – as more people take up online gaming, states are gradually opening their laws up so players can gamble real money in these games.
Some online gambling sites specialize in skill games or tournaments, while others focus on fantasy sports, sweepstakes and educational contests. Since these activities don’t pose substantial financial risk and fall outside traditional gambling laws, however there may still be laws applicable such as New York’s which prohibit the use of unauthorized software to promote online gambling.
Online gambling first emerged in the late 1990s, when several gambling websites were launched. Their popularity exploded quickly; within 10 years there were over 200 gambling websites online. Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Republican Jon Kyl introduced legislation into Congress aimed at curbing internet gambling; these bills never made it past committee.
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came into force. This bill prohibits payment processors from accepting funds for illegal online gaming; however, this does not ban real-money casino or poker sites themselves; nor does it stop states from creating interstate compacts to pool player pools.
Since UIGEA passed, several states have legalized online casino and poker gambling – Delaware, Michigan, Nevada and New Jersey are just a few examples – with legislators realizing that this form of entertainment does not lead to social ills as some had anticipated; rather, millions in tax revenue can actually be gained.
In order to protect their players from fraudulent and underage gambling, online casinos and poker rooms are regularly audited by independent third-party agencies to ensure fair games. Regulators also play an integral part in safeguarding players against fraud and underage betting – often in cooperation with law enforcement agencies – with some highly acclaimed gambling sites having third party auditing performed regularly by independent third-party agencies.
New York has made significant strides to put to rest any questions of whether gambling is legal in their state, with significant modifications made to existing regulations to do just that. Their new licensing regulations mandate third-party testing of games for fairness – an invaluable safeguard in case irregularities in game play occur during play – thus making transparency an essential feature of New York gaming regulations; evidence of their dedication can be seen throughout media reporting of New York government and it appears likely this trend will continue for some time to come.