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Online gambling law - the basics

Most of the Americans would like to see online gambling legal, or at least the UIGEA repealed.

Online gambling bill and lawRep. Barney Frank initially claimed he would do just that, but soon we found out that his proposed bill was just dust in the wind. The simple fact that discussions if Internet gambling could be regulated are scheduled to start around the time when the regulations for UIGEA should be finalized, speaks enough about how far is this bill going.

We should still give the tip of the hat to Rep. Barney Frank for speaking on the issue, as it seems that nowadays all talk about online gambling, in general, by anyone not related to the industry seems to be a taboo.

That said, here are a few pointers, a number of issues which need to be implemented in any future pro-online gambling bill. Touching on this problems could help future legislators paint a much better picture, while the government still gets a good cut in the form of taxes.

  • A good definition of online gambling, online gambling website/company, and legal online gambling. - This is necessary in order to know what forms of gambling would be allowed: sports betting is considered gambling, and so is poker, and even day trading.
  • Very strict minor protection. - You just have to. Even if you have to pull a credit report, this has to work 99.9% of the time. Not just for the bill to pass, but it is also very wrong to let minors gamble, drink and look at nudes.
  • Creation of an Internet Gambling Regulation Board and very clear process of licensing. - To let the online gambling regulation in the hands of a crime-fighting department, and the licensing decision in the hands of only one person is just wrong, as suggested by Mr. Frank. It should be done by a multi-member board or committee. And the process should be very clear - all the requirements should be in place, and if the applicant meets all of them - a license should be granted.
  • Advertising boundaries. - Where you can or cannot advertise should be clearly stated. Daytime television should be out of the question, but we personally think that anywhere else would be just fine, as long as the minor protection works as good as noted.
  • Taxes. - The taxation amounts and methods of online gambling should be in the bill from the start. This would give enough feedback to the legislators if it would work or if most of the online gambling companies would prefer to stay underground due to very high taxes.
  • How the law applies to individual states. - The perfect law would make online gambling legal across the country. And it should be made illegal in individual states only through referendum, and not forced by the by state legislature's opinions and interests. Its' democracy, after all, and if the majority in a state does not want legal Internet gambling - than it should not be legal in that state. That of course does not mean that each state should hold a referendum on online gambling. Only if public outcry is heard from the residents against Internet gambling, then the state should consider a ballot. Also, licensed websites should list and deny access to residents of the restricted states.
  • How would illegal online gambling companies be stopped. - The best way we could imagine is in the form of a digital seal issued to the licensed companies. The people would do the rest - when they are given the choice to play at a regulated online casino or at the drive-by-night one, they would always prefer the first.

And of course there are probably hundreds of other small issues, but the above points should be the mainframe of any good online gambling legalization. If any of the above is missing - you have an incomplete view, which will show down the road, when it's time to really start hammering the bill.


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