The U.K. introduced sweeping changes to its internet gambling laws with the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005. The stated purposes of the act were very noble: to prevent gambling from being a source of crime and disorder; to ensure gambling would be conducted in a fair and open manner; and to protect children from being harmed by enforcing the legal gambling age of 18 years. In practice, of course, the act led to a surge in on site operators moving to the country and a corresponding increase in tax revenues as a result.In the U.S., the situation is much different. Gambling is legal under Federal law but prohibited in many states, with some local exceptions. Legal gambling states include Nevada and New Jersey, although many states have passed laws that legalize gambling in certain municipalities as well as on Native American lands. Internet gambling laws, on the other hand, have effectively prohibited operators from doing business within the states.In 2006 Congress approved an act that dramatically affected the internet gambling laws and effectively proclaimed the industry illegal. That act threw the industry into turmoil, and drove virtually all of the U.S. based operations out of the country. Sites operated out of the U.K. and the Bahamas now garner a majority of this profitable business. But numerous faults in the 2006 legislation and the feeling that Congress has more important things to worry about have now pushed the country to the brink of legalizing the industry.If the U.S. is to proceed with the legalization of gambling over the internet, congress must first do away with its awkward attempt at making it illegal under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (more easily referred to as UIGEA). The purpose of that act was fairly simple: make it illegal for banks, credit card companies, and other payment processors to transfer funds from gamblers to online casinos and from those online casinos back to the gamblers.You must understand, however, that the preference of lawmakers has always been to prohibit online gambling. But concerns about the constitutionality of such a prohibition as well as the mind boggling problems associated with enforcing the ban have consistently killed any possible actions along those lines. So Congress chose instead to try to attack the problem by preventing the flow of capital between the gamblers and the casinos under the UIGEA.Now, thanks in no small part to the national financial meltdown, Congress is poised to reverse its approach to internet gambling laws and scrub the problem-plagued UIGEA. Under a couple of proposed House bills including one sponsored by Barney Franks and Ron Paul, Congress now appears poised to legalize and regulate the industry.Whenever Congress actually considers such a sensible approach you can assume that there are potential tax revenues to be gained. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that one of the major benefits of legalized gambling is additional revenue for the government. Recent studies have indicated that the tax revenues the government stands to reap from a legalized online gambling industry could reach more than $50 billion over the next 10 years.Hopefully, based on current sentiment in Congress regarding internet gambling laws, U.S. based online gambling fans will soon be able to enjoy their sport legally through U.S. based operations that will be under the scrutiny, and taxing power, of the Federal government.
The first appearance of online casinos in the mid 90′s sparked the beginning of a new era, utilizing the internet in a way unimagined of before. Online Gambling had begun and was set to become one of the webs most popular pastimes!Some of the first few online casinos that appeared, have, rather remarkably, survived the test of time and have become leaders in their field. Others however, were one hit wonders and due to poor marketing coupled with abysmal customer support they failed miserably and disappeared shortly after opening.Of course, some were run by genuine businesses wanting to build a reputation for fairness and integrity and stand the test of time in an up and coming, lucrative, market. These were the unfortunates that tried hard but failed.With all new markets however, the conmen will appear, ripping off customers and grabbing as much of other peoples cash as they can without any morals, scruples or sympathy.Unfortunately the online gaming market has picked up more than its fair share of these conmen since its inception and this led, in many peoples minds to the whole industry being tarred with the same brush.The Press also has a part to play their dogged determination to knock online gambling as often as possible, citing cases of addiction. Of course, where fortunes can be won there will always be an element of addiction. However, these cases are fairly rare and the vast majority of people can gamble small amounts responsibly. Look at how many have a weekly flutter on the lotto without any problems whatsoever.It’s worth noting at this point that the industry in general, over the past few years, has somewhat gained a reputation for fairness and security. The conmen are now few and far between, although admittedly, some still exist. The leading sites also have measures in place so that problem gamblers get help with their addiction and are often barred from playing.These days however, online casinos, poker rooms and other gaming sites have become fashionable and with the massively growing popularity, the numbers of people playing online has grown exponentially. In some countries or areas though gambling is still illegal, so check what the rules are for your area before playing.So what’s the easiest way of choosing a safe and secure online environment in which to play casino or poker games? Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can protect yourself when gambling online.1. Stick with a Well-Known Company
Large international gaming companies are now available online and have a reputation to preserve. They can’t afford any bad press as it will affect the whole of their operations, both on and offline.2. Word of Mouth
What better way to get first hand information on how a site is operated than asking others how they have been treated there and whether they find it an enjoyable site or not.3. Consult a Gambling Portal
There are a great many gambling portals available online giving advice on all aspects of online gambling, including, but certainly not limited to casinos, poker, bingo and skill games.Read the reviews of the gaming sites they feature or read their forums for the “word of mouth” recommendations. The top gambling portals only promote reliable, tried and tested sites.Due to the close working relationship held between the site owners and contributors, they are a well informed bunch who can advise with some authority or where to play safely.Portals are also a great way in which to learn more about how to play. Many portal site pages are adorned with rules, strategy guides and often free to play games to try out your skills before committing to regular play.4. Secure Payments
All of the worthwhile sites accept many different payment options with secure facilities to ensure your data is protected. Only play at the sites where your details are safe and secure.5. Set a Limit
Before you start, set a limit on how much you would be prepared to loose and don’t cross that line.Using the above information you should be well on your way to having an enjoyable time when playing online in a trustworthy and respectable site.Good Luck!