Offshore Gambling in the US
While there are many pastimes in the world, offshore gambling is particularly popular with many people. It has been for a long time. This is primarily because it is profitable, which makes it somewhat addictive. It is also fun and enjoyable, and this makes it a favorite pastime for most people.
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In this article we will discuss the rise of gambling in the US and how it became short lived. As regulation by the US Government in 2006 curbed the legality of it's use and pushed the operators of betting websites offshore.
The Beginnings of Offshore Gambling
Initially, gambling was only partaken in casinos. However, with the development of the internet and different software designed to simulate the proceedings almost perfectly, gamblers could now partake in the profitable pastime from any place in the world, and at any time.
Online gambling, particularly boomed across the world in 1994 when the twin-island countries of Barbuda and Antigua passed the motion upholding free trade and processing, The Free Trade and Processing Act.
Back then, there weren't any laws in the United States of America on online gambling seeing as it is it didn't exist in their industry then. This basically made online gambling neither legal nor illegal.
1996 saw about 15 websites come up to offer online gambling. One year later, in 1997, more than 200 websites were offering the service virtually all around the world, and especially in the USA. By then, the online gambling industry was seeing a revenue collection of about $830 million dollars annually.
For the USA however, this boom in online gambling was not long lived.
Outlawing online Gambling in the USA
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in a bid to keep online gambling on tabs in USA. This act placed very strict regulations to govern online gambling operators in the country. Just at around the same time, the FBI sent a clear message to online gambling service providers to close shop.
They did this by closing three major gambling websites concurrently. This discouraged most of the other service providers and also halted many of those who intended to venture in to the business in their tracks.
The service providers decided to exit the industry regardless of knowing the profit potential it held.
The government was particularly worried about online gambling due to the fact that criminals would easily manipulate it.
It seemed possible they would turn it in to a platform to launder lots of money. This is because so much was transacted daily owing to the popularity it had with it's citizens.
There was also a lot of concern about the effects it would have on gamblers. Gambling is indeed addictive. Also, although it may generate a lot of profit for the successful gambler, it may also accrue to huge losses. This eventually leads to other social problems like poverty and depression.
Many service providers opted to offer offshore gambling from other countries that did not find it wrong. Most of these countries include Costa Rica, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Germany and South Korea.
Most of the offshore gambling website’s domain names end with initials like .ag, .au and .eu.
Offshore means Lost Revenue
The government’s efforts to eradicate online gambling in the USA however did not have much effect on US based gamblers. They simply resorted to offshore gambling. This, coupled with the fact that many people participated in online gambling legally has brought several states to realize that a lot of revenue is being lost to offshore gambling. This has consequently seen the legalization of online gambling in some states, with more towing the line.
Legal Reforms encouraging online Gambling in USA
Fortunately, the federal law in the USA that once banned gambling in the country does not bind the individual states’ laws. This has made it capable for certain states to reform laws to tap into this lucrative and very profitable industry.
As such, over the past few years, more and more states in the USA have been making legal reforms to allow gambling, or at least some form of gambling.
Currently, three states, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling, allowing citizens to partake in gambling in the home soil rather than offshore gambling.
The websites however are not granted to use the .com prefix, official for the USA and popular with many people, but rather prefixes for their individual states. However, of these, only Nevada seems to have the practice actually up and running.
For American gamblers to participate in gambling from their states’ websites, they have to be physically located in that particular state when gambling. Also, other regulations like how to place wagers have to be adhered to. This is to avoid issues like money laundering and also to allow the business regulator keep tabs of the revenue generated by the industry. However this is not doing much to stop the popularity of online gambling incresing with most states in the USA.
The Future of online Gambling in USA
As it stands now, more and more states in USA are realizing that citizens are not hindered in any way from participating in online gambling. This is because many of the gamblers just choose to turn to offshore gambling.
The potential revenue that can be generated from the industry is also attracting other significant investors like Virgin Airways’ CEO, Richard Branson. He has recently decided to venture into the market. This is making the future of the online gambling industry very bright. Especially in the whole of USA as more and more states are practically rushing to legalize it.
Service providers are also playing a crucial part to ensure this comes true. To this end, they are offering quality services making the use of upcoming technology breakthroughs to offer players as much convenience and fun as possible.
The controversy behind it all, the financial transactions conducted daily, is also being handled with particularly great care and consideration. Among other factors of priority, safety for members’ money and financial information is highly protected using latest firewall and protection software to keep off hackers.
For the convenience of the government’s interests, money transfer has also been made transparent and accountable, a factor that sees most players required to register with different online money transfer service providers.
Research suggests that the online gambling industry in the USA may be legally accepted in all states in even as little a period as ten years to come.
Citizens in the USA can hence avoid offshore gambling and enjoy the convenience of online gambling on their home soil.