It is hard to ignore the fact that in the 1990’s, online gambling was a hugely popular hobby. A few people were making money by placing bets on sports or playing poker, but the majority of players were simply using these sites for social reasons. In the early 2000’s, nearly six hundred to seven hundred sites were in operation. During this period, revenues reached $2 billion.
By the mid 2000’s, there were several major issues with on-line gambling. First, it was difficult to figure out exactly how much money was being transferred to online gambling sites. Second, there was no effective way to monitor the activities of these online gambling operators. Finally, there were several concerns about the legality of online gambling.
The most recent controversy stems from an indictment filed against the founders of an online payment provider, Neteller. These individuals were charged with conspiracy and money laundering. They were accused of using fraudulent methods to get banks to process transactions on their website. However, this did not stop the online gambling industry from growing.
Another controversy stems from a court case in which a bank owner sued a woman who had lost money while using her credit card to place bets on the Internet. The bank had allegedly made profits from illegal gambling activities, but it did not pay the money. Haines countersued the bank, claiming the debt was void because it arose from an illegal contract.
When this dispute reached a head, the World Trade Organization (WTO) convened a panel to investigate the United States’ laws and policies on online gambling. The panel found that the United States had violated international trade agreements and ruled that the country was in breach of the law.
Although the United States has not changed its position on the matter, there are still many unanswered questions about the legality of on-line gambling. One of these is whether it is a violation of the Commerce Clause, which prohibits federal agencies from interfering with private commercial activity.
While the Commerce Clause seems to provide ample protection against interference with commerce, it does not protect the public’s right to due process. There is also a question about the First Amendment’s protection of speech. This is especially true when financial transactions are involved.
Several attacks have been launched on the basis of the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech. However, these have been met with little success.
In response to this problem, several states passed legislation in 2005 that made it illegal to transfer funds to online gambling sites. Additionally, a bill was drafted to prohibit credit card companies from making transactions with gambling establishments. Credit card companies pass on their litigation costs to consumers. Rather than incur these expenses, the Providian National Bank decided to stop handling online gambling transactions.
Another issue with online gambling is the fact that gamblers are at higher risk for gambling problems. A study conducted by George T. Ladd at the University of Connecticut showed that people who gambled on the Internet had worse physical and mental health than those who did not. Moreover, the average age of those who gambled was significantly younger than those who did not.