There are a large number of online casinos, in which people can play casino games such as roulette, blackjack, craps and many others. These games are played against the “house”, who win money due to the fact that the odds are slightly in their favor. Some unscrupulous sites have been shown to offer rigged games, which are less mathematically fair than they appear.
There are a large number of online poker rooms that offer various poker games, most commonly Texas hold ’em, but also Omaha, Seven-card stud, UFABET and other types of games. Players play against each other, and the “house” makes money through “rake”.
Online sports betting
A number of major bookmakers offer fixed odds bets over the Internet, and players often bet on the results of sporting events.
A relatively new Internet innovation is betting exchange, which allows people to place bets on each other (with the “house” charging a small commission).
Typically, players load funds into the online gambling company, place bets or play the games it offers, and then collect the winnings. European players can often fund gambling accounts with a credit or debit card and withdraw the winnings directly to the card.
However, due to the questionable legality of online gambling in the United States, American credit cards are often not accepted. However, several intermediary companies, such as Firepay, Neteller and Moneybookers, offer accounts with which (among other things) online gambling can be financed. Casino operators and online poker rooms often offer incentives for using these “alternative payment methods.”
Payment by check and bank transfer is also common.
General legal problems
Online gambling is legal and regulated in many countries, including the UK and several nations in and around the Caribbean Sea.
The United States Federal Courts of Appeals have ruled that the Federal Cable Communications Act prohibits the electronic transmission of sports betting information across state lines. There is no law that prohibits gambling of any other kind.
Some states have specific laws against online gambling of any kind. Furthermore, owning an online gambling operation without the proper licenses would be illegal and no state currently licenses online gambling.
The government of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses Internet gambling entities, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization about actions by the United States government to prevent online gambling.
The Caribbean country won the preliminary decision, but the WTO appeals body partially reversed that favorable decision in April 2005. The appeals decision effectively allowed state laws prohibiting gambling in Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah. However, the appeals panel also ruled that the United States could be violating world trade rules because its laws regulating horse racing gambling were not applied equally to domestic and foreign online gambling companies. The panel also held that certain online gambling restrictions imposed by US federal law were inconsistent with the trade body’s GATS services agreement.
In March 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John G. Malcolm testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the special problems that online gambling presents. One of the main concerns of the United States Department of Justice is online money laundering. The anonymous nature of the Internet and the use of encryption make it especially difficult to track money laundering transactions online.
In April 2004, Google and Yahoo!, the two largest search engines on the Internet, announced that they were removing advertising for online gambling from their sites. The move followed an announcement by the United States Department of Justice that, in what some say is a contradiction to the Court of Appeals ruling, the Wire Transfer Act related to telephone gambling applies to all forms of internet gambling, and that any advertisement for such gambling “may” be regarded as an accomplice and accomplice. Critics of the Justice Department’s move say it has no legal basis to pressure companies to eliminate the