There’s been much talk about banning gambling online, and people fear they could be prosecuted for making online bets. A 2006 law prohibited banks from exchanging funds with betting and offshore casino gaming sites, and several states have passed laws banning online gambling altogether. Yet the 2006 law doesn’t actually go after individuals, and people don’t always know if this pastime is banned by their own state. So even though they can often still visit the websites, people aren’t sure what will happen if they try to place a bet.
What will happen if someone places an online bet? According to the www.vegasclick.com site, nothing will happen. No individual has ever been prosecuted for doing so. Even the 2006 law was aimed at banks, not individual bettors. So if a person finds a way to get their funds to their favorite offshore betting site, they can carry on. Michael Bluejay, writing at the site in 2007 following passage of the law, said Americans are going to continue online gambling and nobody is likely to stop them, law or not.
Of course, most major offshore gambling sites didn’t quite see it that way. Several resisted at first, scoffing that a law made in the United States shouldn’t have jurisdiction over websites fully registered and legal in their own country. But eventually they decided that the hassle was just too great, especially when a couple of executives from those sites were arrested on American soil and prosecuted. So one by one, most of them announced they would no longer be accepting online bets from Americans.
Yet American gamblers just kept making online bets anyway, to the tune of eight billion dollars in 2009. And some legislators, considering the 2006 law simply too draconian, are trying to revamp American gambling laws so neither bettors nor banks will be penalized. They will simply regulate and tax the industry instead. Some even suggest that taxation on this industry alone could probably pay for a national health care system. So it’s likely the American government will legalize online gambling, and make the status of online gamblers a lot clearer.
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