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Gambling Online Magazine - Gambling Law ? a Tax Issue, or Social Awareness?

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  • Gambling Online MagazineIn light of the recent legal issues facing online gambling companies, what exactly does the law in the United States say? State law prohibits the transmission or receipt of any wager or gambling information intended to be used for bookmaking or other unauthorized gambling activity.

    It is also illegal under federal law, including the Federal Wire Wager Act, to operate a betting or wagering business using telephone lines or other ?wire communication facility.? Federal prosecutors have successfully prosecuted US citizens with businesses based offshore under the Wire Wager Act. US authorities take very seriously the offence by offshore sports betting operators using telephones, Internet, or other forms of wire communications to seek bettors from the US.

    Online gambling is indeed legal in many countries across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, and South Africa. The contradictory issue is that the US is the gambling capital of the world, with Las Vegas as the hub of this activity, which features events like the World Tour and the World Series of poker. In Las Vegas, the casinos use many methods to keep patrons playing such as pumping oxygen into the arenas to keep punters energetic, or shutting windows up so players don?t know the time.

    So, what is the issue? Is this a tax problem or does it go deeper with social problems of people of all ages gambling unobstructed online. When US citizens take bets from overseas companies, those companies sidestep the liability to pay tax. This is a rather thorny issue in the US as they refuse to stand for this. Just look at the recent arrests on UK management of online gambling companies taking bets from people in the US over the phone.

    Many religious and social groups blame gambling on the downfall of the ?American Family? as well as an increase in crime. Take the recent news of a Pennsylvanian student robbing a bank to pay for his addiction. After developing a love of playing the gambling sites, the young man could hardly control himself and landed in gambling debt. He now faces a three-year sentence. This is certainly not the first time this has happened and it won?t be the last. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 2.9 million Americans between the ages of 14 and 22 gamble with cards online at least once a week and 50 percent of male college students and 26 percent of female college students gamble on cards at least once a month.

    The fact remains that even though the industry faces these problems, gambling in any form remains an activity that requires restraint and discipline. Arguably, most do manage their gambling activities without landing in trouble, so a fair balance needs to be struck between freedoms and restrictions. Possibly a more responsible stance by gambling businesses is needed to keep people aware of the dangers, or a concerted effort by the government to get to the root of the problem in order to allow legitimate businesses to trade.

    Stephen Holder Courtesy of Gambling Online Magazine

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