The Growing Convenience of Online Gambling
Online gambling is a multibillion dollar industry that includes everything from sports betting to lottery tickets and casino games. It is accessible from a variety of devices and platforms and offers players the convenience of wagering in their own time and in their own currency. In addition to the convenience, online gambling sites also offer a wide range of bonuses and promotions for new and returning customers alike.
The online gaming industry has come a long way since the first gambling websites went live in 1996. Back then there were only a few dozen gambling websites but by the end of the decade that number had more than doubled to over 200. This growth has been fueled by technological advances, the burgeoning popularity of internet access, and the increasing ease with which people can make deposits and withdrawals.
Despite the rapid growth in online gambling, there are still some states that do not allow its existence. These holdouts are Utah and Hawaii, which have religious reasons for keeping gambling out of their borders. Other states that impose restrictions on gambling are Wisconsin and Idaho, which are concerned about the impact on family life.
Gambling is legal in some form or another in 48 of the 50 US states. The two exceptions are Utah, which has a large Mormon population that is deeply religious in its beliefs and views gambling as an immoral activity, and Hawaii, which fears the negative impact on social relations and family values.
Aside from those two holdouts there are several other states that regulate and license gambling. These include Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware although only Nevada currently has regulated sites up and running. Most of the remaining states are considering legislation that would open their borders to online gambling and, based on the current momentum, they are likely to do so in the near future.
As more and more US states legalize online gambling the pressure for a federal law that imposes uniform standards becomes greater. One Republican congressman has already introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection Act of 2013.
In April 2004 Google and Yahoo! removed online gambling advertisements from their search results after a U.S. Department of Justice announcement that the Wire Act relating to telephone wagering also applies to internet gambling and that any advertising of this activity could be considered aiding and abetting. The decision was widely criticized and many argued that the government is targeting mid to large size publishers rather than individual gamblers. Those who believe that it is an overreach are hopeful that the issue will ultimately be settled by the courts. In the mean time, those who wish to gamble online can use prepaid cards to fund their accounts at reputable casinos and avoid having their transactions appear on their primary credit card statements. These methods are popular with players who want to impose limits on their spending and prevent themselves from falling into debt.