Internet Gambling Industry – Legal Aspects
In 1996, online gambling was a very new concept. Few, if any, websites had the ability to offer this type of entertainment. The past decade has seen a huge growth in this industry, with websites offering the ability to bet on anything from sports to Casino games, or to purchase lottery tickets from a vast selection of locations.
While each state in the US has its own gambling laws, most Internet websites do not fall neatly under the laws of any particular state simply because of the nature of the business. It can be very difficult to determine if an online operation is running legally or not. It all comes down to addressing three fundamental components:
Consideration (putting aside something of value)
Chance (as opposed to skill)
Most states rule that gambling is not taking place unless the ‘consideration’ is monetary. Even if there is consideration, prize and chance, the game might not be illegal. The laws can be quite complicated.
Two states in particular, Nevada and Louisiana, have outlawed most forms of Internet gambling. For example, if an unlicensed operator in either of those states accepts a wager online, that operator has committed a crime.
For the Internet, the easiest approach is to run a skill game in the form of a tournament, where chance equalizes out over time. Players only play against other players, never against the house. There is always a guaranteed prize for the winner.
Despite the gray areas in the legal aspects of online gambling, it appears we’ll continue to see an increase in popularity resulting in more websites, and more gambling.