Every year when the Super Bowl approaches, there are a million stories about gambling in the U.S. This one from Fox Business approaches it from the angle of the IRS and how people generally don't report their gambling winnings.

Now, Buzzy is no genius, but if games are played on the Internet, wouldn't it be quite easy for poker rooms, casinos and sports books to report how much a player won or lost at the end of each year?

The story includes a section on Internet gambling, a pretty fair account of the issue.

Online gambling down, but not out
Then there's online gaming. A June 1999 Washington Post article reported "at least 140 Web sites now offer some form of wagering to online users -- an expansion in recent years that has alarmed opponents and put increased focus on the laws that govern Internet gambling." By 2005, research firm Christiansen Capital Advisors estimated that nearly 23 million people gambled on the internet, with approximately 8 million of those gamblers from the United States.

It's easy to see why the numbers have grown so much. Type "online gambling" into any Internet search engine and within seconds you'll have a list of hundreds of thousands of potential gambling sites. This is in spite of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was passed without much fanfare and signed into law in late 2006 in an effort to restrict U.S. gamblers' access to these typically foreign-based Web sites. It is now a federal crime for U.S. banks and credit card companies to process Internet-bet payments.
But even before the law was enacted, U.S. law enforcement officials argued that Internet gambling was illegal under the 1961 Wire Act. In recent years, many credit card issuers already had halted such transactions, citing risk factors if the cardholder disputes or refuses to pay the charges.

The latest antigambling law and associated enforcement efforts are getting mixed reviews and equally mixed results.

Some companies have curtailed their U.S. betting operations. Following the arrest in July 2006 of its CEO, the once ubiquitous BetOnSports.com halted its U.S. operation, which accounted for around three-quarters of its business, closing offices in Costa Rica and Antigua, which was the base of its American service. Other legal troubles subsequently shut down the entire company.

But that victory by anti-gambling forces was tempered by the World Trade Organization ruling against the United States in a dispute over Internet gambling operations based in Antigua.

"America's prohibition in the provision of gambling services from other countries violates the U.S. commitments to the WTO," said the Caribbean island's representative Mark Mendel. Since the 2006 law allows online wagers on horse and dog racing, Antigua successfully argued that the statute unfairly forbids international companies from competing in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are just getting around to creating rules to implement the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006. The regulatory goal is to block online gambling by disrupting the credit card payment process. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Board issued a first draft last October. The comment period ended in mid-December, with most finding the proposed rules wanting.

A common problem cited by reviewers was the vagueness of what constitutes gambling. Many noted that various U.S. governments, federal as well as many states, recognize and even support or operate gambling enterprises, ranging from state lotteries to tribal casinos.

And as the international legal and domestic regulatory wrangling continues, online gambling sites and their cyberpatrons are adapting. Some sites have introduced dedicated debit cards and alternative, although circuitous, e-payment and electronic wallet services. It's a good bet that millions of U.S. customers will be utilizing them Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest global betting day of the year.
Fulll story here ... http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-...461643_22.html