Internet gambling has become a more and more popular recreational activity. It is facilitated by the availability of the internet and by the proliferation of internet-enabled devices. The ease of online betting offers a more convenient way to gamble than in a land-based casino. Moreover, it allows users to make large wagers quickly and easily. Nevertheless, it is not without its risks. A pathological use of the medium may result in harmful effects.
While the vast majority of research on internet gambling is cross-sectional, some longitudinal studies have been conducted. These are interesting because they can shed light on how the internet changes gambling behavior. They also demonstrate how a pathological use of the medium can be detrimental.
Several studies surveyed problem gamblers. One such study revealed that a third to one half of these problem gamblers attributed their problems to land-based forms of gambling. Other study findings suggest that Internet gamblers are not all alike. Interestingly, the rate of problem gamblers is lower than among non-Internet users. This suggests that the next generation of gamblers may start using the internet more frequently at an earlier age. However, this does not mean that Internet gambling is more dangerous than land-based gambling.
In addition to gambling, the Internet can be used for other purposes. For instance, the Liechtenstein International Lottery is the first legal online lottery venue for the general public. Although there is little proof that internet gambling has an effect on gambling, it is not surprising that the popularity of the internet is boosting the amount of people who engage in this type of activity.
There are several federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal Internet gambling. Some of these are more complicated than others. Nonetheless, these laws provide some insight into the prevalence of Internet gambling.
One notable law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). It was introduced in 2007 and aims to regulate commercial activity on the Internet. UIGEA makes it unlawful for any person, organization, or business to accept any financial instrument in connection with an illegal Internet bet. Furthermore, it requires that all bets made on the Internet be cleared through a licensed intermediary, such as a bank. Another law, the Travel Act, requires players who visit interstate facilities to comply with certain rules.
In addition to the UIGEA, there is another Congressional report that identifies specific laws and regulations that have a positive impact on the regulation of online gambling. The report includes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the CRS Report RS22749, which is a compilation of a few important laws and regulations associated with the aforementioned act.
The UIGEA and the CRS Report RS22749 are available in an abridged version. Similarly, the CRS report on remote gaming is available in abridged form. Also, it would be interesting to see what other enlightening research on Internet gambling might reveal. Moreover, it would be nice to know more about what makes a well-regulated Internet gaming environment tick.