I read this article and I felt that many of you would be interested to know what is going on in America concerning online casino gambling.
Place a bet. Now go to jail
By Declan McCullagh
Placing an Internet bet on the Super Bowl may not exactly be legal, but that hasn't stopped tens of thousands of U.S. gamblers from venturing online to try to beat the odds.
Their destinations tend to be offshore Web sites that go by names like BetBug of Toronto; BetWWTS.com of Antigua; Bodog Sportsbook, Casino and Poker of Costa Rica; and Betfair, which has offices in London.
Whatever their choice of betting site, they're forking over plenty of cash. Christiansen Capital Advisors estimates that Internet gambling revenues will top $10 billion this year, with perhaps $450 million wagered on Sunday's Super Bowl football game alone.
That's nearly four times as much as is expected to be wagered on the Patriots and Eagles in Nevada, the only U.S. state that permits sports betting within its borders.
CNET News.com spoke with Mark Stone, chairman of the Interactive Gaming Council, about the legality of online gambling.
Stone's organization, based in Vancouver, Canada, and founded in 1996, bills itself as the trade association for the "global interactive gaming industry." For his day job, Stone is the chief financial officer of Web design company Creative Edge Enterprises.
Q: Is it legal to gamble online from the United States?
A: That's really the issue that's being debated at the moment. I think the Department of Justice takes the position that gambling online from the United States to any site that's based anywhere is covered by the Wire Act and thus is not legal.
The issue's up in the air, and I think the activity from Congress is geared toward trying to close that particular issue.
So if I place a bet on the Super Bowl through a offshore Web site, Congress wants to clarify the law to put me in prison?
One of your colleagues told Congress that 90 percent of gambling on offshore Web sites comes from the United States. If that's even close to accurate, how will Congress try to stop it?
Ninety percent may be a bit high, but a significant number of those gambling online come from the states. We're not a particular fan of the attempts to prohibit the activity. Our position is that it's an activity that should be regulated, certainly, and our position is also that the United States ought to follow the lead of other countries that have regulated the activity.
Outside of the Caribbean, what nations have legalized and regulated this?
In one fashion or another, Great Britain is moving in that direction. The Isle of Man and Australia--and certainly, the Caribbean nations are moving toward regulation instead of prohibition. There's various activities going on in Europe. South Africa looks like it's heading in that direction. Brazil and Chile have launched similar activities.
Isn't it a little like trying to outlaw pornography or using peer-to-peer networks? How do politicians expect to enforce a ban?
That's certainly a good question and an individual-rights issue. I'm sure that from a technical standpoint, it's possible to identify the Internet Protocol address of someone connecting to a specific Web site.
But given the number of individuals involved in it, it's highly impractical, in my view. I think what they'd have to do is find technical ways to shut down the access, as opposed to arresting the individuals.
Can you see Congress giving someone like the attorney general the power to order Internet providers not to permit connections to certain Internet addresses?.......
Read the whols article here,