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Growth Requires Regulations
Internet gambling operated by offshore, unregulated companies has seen explosive growth since the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1995, a fact that has led Congress to take up the issue and consider legislation to ban such gambling in order to protect the right of each state to regulate gambling within its borders.

According to information from the report of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC):
In May 1998, there were approximately 90 on-line casinos, 39 lotteries, 8 bingo games and 53 sports books. A year later, there were more than 250 on-line casinos, 64 lotteries, 20 bingo games and 139 sports books.
A gaming industry analysis by Christiansen/Cummings Associates estimated Internet gambling revenues at $651 million for 1998, more than double the estimated $300 million from the previous year.
Some studies estimate that revenues for Internet gambling doubled within one year.

Finally, the federal government already requires casinos to report cash transactions of more than $10,000. Currency Transaction Report by Casinos (CTRC) filings also have been used to report suspicious transactions.


The Issue
The U.S. commercial casino industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the nation. Not only must U.S. commercial casinos comply with state restrictions, licensing requirements and regulations, they also are subject to numerous federal laws. For example, U.S. commercial casinos are subject to federal corporate taxation, publicly traded companies comply with Securities and Exchange Commission rules, casinos file information reports on larger winnings with the IRS and withhold federal taxes on certain winnings, and casinos adhere to anti-money laundering statutes and regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department.
In contrast, those offshore operators engaged in
the business of taking Internet wagers from the United States are not subject to these important federal and state legal requirements.
Legislation is moving forward in Congress that would prohibit gambling businesses—wherever they are located (in the United States or not)—from using the Internet or any other interactive computer service to take bets or wagers from individuals in the United States. This legislation would update the Wire Communications Act of 1961, which already prohibits the use of the telephone or other wired devices to circumvent state prohibitions or regulations affecting gaming.


Conclusion
Though there are particular states that have passed legislation to prohibit online gambling, it is almost impossible for them enforce it. As far as we know, there has been no one in the United States or Canada, who has gotten into legal trouble for wagering online.

Having said that, it is fact that most physical locations for the web servers that house online casinos, reside in countries such as the Caribbean Islands or Antigua. In these countries and in a number of others, gambling is legal.

One thing to keep in mind if you are gambling online is to make sure you claim any wins (and losses) to your government body that oversees personal taxes. You need to keep records outlining the money you have spent gambling online so you can offset your losses against your winnings. Why pay more taxes than you have to?

 



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