That may suggest that, as some legal observers have argued, the 1961 federal Wire Act is too old and too loosely written to prohibit online gambling. “The telephone is being used to facilitate these wagers and I believe the government has a solid case,” explains Tony Cabot, a Las Vegas-based gaming lawyer and author of a book on Internet gaming. Justice believes that any legislation addressing criminal misuse of computers or computer systems (including the Internet) should have three vital characteristics. In January, MegaSports began taking Internet bets from Australians; it expects soon to allow global gambling on sporting events. attorney’s case involved the casinos’ sportsbooks. But they say the more bettors, the better. “Think about what would happen to Wal-Mart (WMT), General Motors or Microsoft if these companies had to continue to dodge federal roadblocks to access their customers,” says Sebastian Sinclair, senior associate at Christiansen/Cummings Associates, a management consulting firm. But as more and more traditional firms become involved, the consumer will look for the brand name. The amount spent on Internet gambling is harder to calculate. Together, these sites have about 4,300 registered customers in 96 countries around the world. The Wire Act obviously has no mention of wagering over the Internet. “Federal legislation will make it difficult but not impossible for Internet gamblers in the U.S. Says Opel, “Bringing in the big names and established companies only adds credibility and visibility to what we’re already doing.”
Is it legal?
A few hurdles have to be cleared before such ventures can take off – beginning with the federal government. to gain access to offshore sites,” says Sebastian Sinclair of Christiansen/Cummings. “And it is possible that records could be subpoenaed of various banks where these companies maintain accounts.”
That partnership leads many observers to believe that an online casino – using Microsoft platforms, of course – is in the works. college and professional sports. But according to Inland CEO Don Speer, elusive profits need not be one of them.
The original version of Kyl’s bill failed most of these tests. … One Australian state, Queensland, is already awarding licenses for online gambling, and others may follow soon. “We get daily reports, and you’ll see these people who spend a couple of hours gambling, and the total amount they bet is like $1.81,” says Thomas Holmes, Inland’s head of technology.
First, legislation should treat physical activity and cyberactivity in the same way. citizens, it will be increasingly tempting for them to turn to locations abroad. Would-be wagerers open an account with a credit card, although some sites also accept cash and cashier’s checks. In a highly publicized March 1998 “raid,” Mary Jo White, the U.S.
Internet Gambling Worldwide, Past and Future
Nonetheless, some experts think the case could be made to stick.
The office of U.S. 474, introduced into the Senate by Arizona’s John Kyl in 1997 as the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. (The company did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.)
Group calls for regulation of Net gambling
For years, another barrier to the growth of Internet gambling has been strong opposition from those most threatened by gambling sites: legal American casinos. But following a 1997 indictment, the state of Missouri settled a suit against the company and its president, Michael Simone, for about $35,000. . Legislators have considered enlisting Internet service providers to patrol for undesirable sites, although Internet gambling insiders consider that proposal dead on arrival.
But even if Congress comes up with the best-crafted legislation in history, there are significant factors beyond its control. Her higher-ups in the Justice Department appear to agree. If, on the other hand, an activity is in the physical world – betting on horses, or casino betting with Indian tribes – it becomes subject to federal criminal sanction when it occurs in cyberspace. O’Brien observes in Bad Bet, his comprehensive account of America’s gambling industry, “Judging by dollars spent, gambling is now more popular in America than baseball, the movies and Disneyland combined.”
Similarly, the Las Vegas-based public company American Wagering, owner of Leroy’s Horse and Sports Place in Nevada, also operates a sports gambling site located in Canberra called MegaSports (www.megasports.com.au). Legislation tied to a particular technology may quickly become obsolete and require further amendment. His equal partner is Australian tycoon Kerry Packer of the Crown Casino in Victoria.
So how is it that these companies appear to operate legally, but a dozen Caribbean cowboys found themselves under felony indictment?
Is Microsoft betting too?
The potential action is too compelling for even the largest tech tycoons to resist.
The prosecutors’ focus on sports bets appears to stem from legal precedent in the law they relied on. Why should it be legal to bet online on a horse race in another state, but not legal to bet on a basketball game in one’s own state? If Native American tribes can establish new, legal, physical places where adults can gamble, why shouldn’t someone be able to do the same in cyberspace?
Second, legislation should be technology-neutral. Almost all online gambling sites work the same. In 1998, the Senate passed, by a large margin, an amendment prohibiting Internet gambling, but that bill died before becoming law. In November 1998, for example, a division of Hilton Hotels acquired the company that runs Centrebet, a Web and telephone sports-wagering system based in Australia (www.centrebet.com.au).
All the sites indicted by the U.S. I’ve not had problems being paid.”
Running an online casino carries all the usual challenges of Internet businesses, from low click-through rates to servers that fail. The vast majority of customers will satisfy their demand for commercial gambling through less onerous and risky alternatives, such as lotteries, bingo, pari-mutuels and casinos.”
One major barrier to profitability is the law. In 1997, published reports put the total number of operating online casinos at 15. Like the Communications Act passed in the 1930s, technology has now leapfrogged the law.
If such gamblers are READ MORE