Online Casino Gambling – A Worthy Revolution

With the emergence of internet technology, casino games have gone through a rejuvenated period. In fact, the introduction of internet based gambling has taken online casino gambling to a whole new level that makes it more available to the world than initially. Since its introduction, the online turn taken by gambling is considered one of the greatest milestones in the gambling history. The first step having been made in 1994 in Antigua and Barbuda to license for the first online casino gambling, it was then followed with the launching of internet casino Inc in 1995 and the introduction of online sports book and Intertops in 1996. This turn of events is what gave gambling the current publicity and popularity that it currently has.

The coveted $ 10,000 prize earned by Chris Moneymaker facilitated by the internet boosted further the gambling sport. Many people then decided to participate in the online event. Online casino gambling, therefore, is among the hugest step ever made by the sport and saw it attract a 300 percent participation increase.

In USA though, the passage of the law that outlawed the operations of casinos and pokers, dealt the sport a big blow. Elsewhere in other countries, people continue to enjoy the online games. It is readily embraced in other European countries, especially South America, Asia and Australia.

Considering the unwavering profitability and popularity of the online gambling games, casino included, we are seeing a situation where America will change their mind and welcome online gambling legislation.

Discover how you can stop losing and start winning at the casinos…

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Gambling in Asia

While many religions and moralists may object to the act of gambling, it cannot be denied that it could, through proper legalization and monitoring, benefit nations as a whole. Illegal gambling may pose problems to a society, but as many nations are slowly discovering, its legalization coupled with proper controls can, in fact, turn out to be a better solution.

Around the world, western countries like the United States of America remains to be the few places to earn revenue through legal gambling. This, however, does not mean that Asian countries are missing out this big opportunity. Already countries like Macau are advancing in their ‘gambling industry’, reaping about US$2.5 billion in early of year 2011. Of course, Macau, otherwise known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’ is quite unique, having had legalized gambling since the 1850s and is still the only Chinese territory that fully allows gambling. In fact, gambling is what boosts its tourism sectors, making it Macau’s biggest source of income.

Other countries, having witnessed the lucrative benefits, slowly but surely followed suits. In Malaysia, it is legal to gamble as long as it is operated under government permit or license; gambling at homes or in public places are considered as illegal. However, the legality of gambling are also restricted to certain ages and religions – one must be a non-Muslim and over the age of 18 in order to enter any legal gambling premises. By far, Genting Highlands’ casino resorts still draw large group of ‘tourists’, most of them from neighboring countries.

One of these neighboring countries happens to be Singapore, who used to be an anti-gambling nation. As a result, most gambling Singaporeans would travel to Malaysia and few came home with a fortune. Pressured to retain those income within Singapore as well as to boost the tourism industry, Singapore finally lifted its gambling ban in year 2005 and the very first Singapore casino was opened to public in early year 2010. The billions of dollars poured into this economy certainly did not disappoint; not only have the casinos vastly improved the country’s tourism but it was also predicted that Singapore may take over Last Vegas’ spot of the world’s second largest gambling hub.

But there is yet another up and coming Asian country that will attempt to knock Singapore off its glorious seat, and may just as well do so successfully. The Philippines generated about US$69.58 million in gambling industry in early year of 2011, all thanks to their gambling-favored laws that allow both offline and online casinos. There has yet to be any precedence or law that prevents the legitimization of online gambling. This is not surprising as gambling not only brought in tourists and income, it is also indirectly brought in foreign investors, something that the Philippines are lacking. However, legal online gambling sites are limited to only foreigners while Filipinos can gamble away at any government owned sites.

With more Asian countries slowly opening up to the idea of an industry for legal gambling, it may not be long before Asia become the main port in gambling tourism. Even now, the Asia market is slowly increasing and more people are flocking over for an integrated experience – from traveling, sightseeing, and all the way to gambling.

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Online Gambling

Internet Casinos Inc. (ICI), the world’s first online casino, started operating from August 18, 1995, with 18 different games. Since then more than 1,400 websites, mostly domiciled in small Caribbean islands, have given rise to an industry that grosses over $3 billion a year. In fact no business on the Internet earns more revenue than online gambling. Out of the estimated 14.5 million online gamblers, almost 30 per cent are from Asia.

A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with a credit card can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance can then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.

The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, although not absolutely prohibited in India, does not receive express encouragement by policy makers. The Indian organized gambling industry is estimated to be worth around US$8 billion. While stringent laws have checked the proliferation of casinos and high street gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular form of gambling.

Though gambling is not illegal, it is a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to the laws that have an application across the country. While some states have banned lotteries, other states allow state government lotteries marketed and distributed in other lottery playing and promoting states through private entities.

Regulation of gambling

The courts have defined gambling as ‘the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. As a result, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that the state government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to complete prohibition.

The following legislation is pertinent to gambling:

The Public Gaming Act, 1867

This Act provides punishment for public gambling and for keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. This Act also authorises the state governments to enact laws to regulate public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums as well.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)

The ICA is a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the result of any game or other uncertain event on which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and thus void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it cannot be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any cause of action that arises out of a wagering contract.

Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998

This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote as well as prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have been made an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Several non-lottery playing states, like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have prohibited the sale of other state-government lotteries under this Act.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 294A deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or to deliver any goods, or to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of any person, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.

Internet gambling

The law related to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.

As pointed out earlier, the online lottery is the most popular form of internet gambling in India. Most companies marketing and distributing or conducting state government-sponsored lotteries through the internet are not allowed to sell their services in the states that banned lotteries. In most cases, these marketers and distributors limit their online services to consumers who are residents of the states where a lottery is permissible. Notwithstanding the fact there has been no reported case of breach by any company promoting online lotteries, most of these companies (as a safeguard) seek an undertaking from their consumers relating to their residence.

There have been instances where one state has banned the lottery of other states, including online lotteries. In a recent case, the Karnatka High Court upheld the decision of the Karnataka government to make itself a ‘lottery free zone’ by imposing a ban on lotteries of all other states, including online lotteries under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998. The state government, in this case, directed the closure of the terminals and kiosks selling the online lotteries.

Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions

If the websites are hosted and operated from outside India, it may be difficult for the Indian authorities to issue any directive to close them down or prohibit their access without using its blocking powers under the ITA. The authorities have little to worry about, as Indian foreign exchange laws do not permit remittances outside India for gambling related activity, such as the purchase of lottery tickets, football pools and sweepstakes. As a result, a gambling website hosted outside India aiming at receiving money from within India cannot do so through legal channels.

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A Brief Overview of Online Gambling Software

Online gaming has been gaining more and more popularity over the years. Online Poker is one of the biggest attractions on the internet today. However, amid the entire buzz, it is essential that customers get their hands on the right piece of gaming software that suits their needs and gaming style.

Once you log on to any Online Casino, the first thing that you are asked to do is to download the poker software. It is only after this that you start playing.

Different online casinos require different software in order to be able to play their games. There are several differences between the various gaming software. Some of them have excellent graphics and flash designs to make you feel as if you are sitting in a real casino. Others offer simple graphics and functional gaming. Another major difference is on the prices among online software. The cost for one of these software ranges between Zero and hundreds of dollars. Many of the free software deliver the same gaming experience as their paid counterparts. Further, if you buy an expensive piece of software, it does not imply that there is a lower house advantage or that the payout of jackpots will be any higher or more frequent.

There are a few dangers and risks while playing one of these software though. You should never download software without doing some research beforehand. Firstly make sure that the software is compatible with your PC. Check out the System Requirements of software before downloading. They are published on the websites from where you are downloading usually. Plus, any unpleasant event means that the casino has one less customer and frustration for you.

Make sure you first check out the terms of use of the software before downloading software to play online poker. You are required to follow these rules under the law once you agree to the terms and conditions applied by the website. It is treated just like a written contract and you are prohibited from distributing the software to others.

Online Casino and gambling rules and regulations do not apply to poker though. Although online gambling is illegal in the United States, most countries in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world do not have laws restricting their use. If you like betting on sports, sportsbook is the software for you. Through it, you can bet on your favorite teams sitting at your home computer. This software works on much the same principals as the ones mentioned above. There are terms of use and system requirements for this software.

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Online Gambling in the US – A New Chance

The biggest potential change would be in the United States, where Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, is expected to introduce legislation within days, aimed at overturning the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. “He supports it and wants to move forward on it,” said Steve Adamske, communications director for the House Financial Services Committee, of which Mr. Frank is chairman. “There is a lot of gambling where no revenue coming in to the governments,” said Gavin Kelleher researcher at H2 Gambling Capital in Ireland.

Mr. Frank failed to do so once before, in 2007 but advocates of liberalization think they might get a friendlier hearing in Washington this time. President Barack Obama, boasted of his poker prowess during the election campaign and the Democrats, who are seen as less hostile to Internet gambling than the Republicans, have tightened their grip on Congress.

Analysts say that may be getting a little bit ahead of the game. Opponents of a repeal, including the Christian Coalition of America and the National Football League, have vowed to fight any effort to end the ban. Michele Combs, a spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition, said the group was gearing up for a massive campaign of letter-writing and lobbying to try to prevent any loosening of the law.

U.S. sports leagues, meanwhile, worry that the ease of online betting increases the chances of game-fixing. Even the most bullish advocates of online casino games and gambling acknowledge that Internet sports betting – as opposed to poker or casino games – is highly unlikely to be legalized. “There’s now a better chance for some sort of gaming legislation to be approved,” said Nick.

Batram, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, a brokerage firm in London. “But it took longer than expected to put anti-gaming legislation in place so maybe it will take longer than expected to remove it.”

Since the 2006 law was passed, North America has been passed by Europe and Asia, according to figures from H2 Gambling Capital. The law makes it illegal for financial institutions to handle payments to online gambling and casino games [http://www.casinogamearena.com] sites. Some people using overseas payment processors to ensure that online gambling remains an excellent business.

Now analysts say one possibility for European companies should the ban be lifted, would be to form partnerships with American casino operators. That would allow the European companies like PartyGaming to share their online expertise. Operating alone, they might struggle to obtain licenses, given their history of run-ins with U.S. law enforcement, analysts said.

So far, Las Vegas executives have maintained a cautious stance about legalization of online gambling. Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, said in an e-mail message that he thought it would be “impossible to regulate and even though it would be a benefit to our company, we are strongly opposed,” he said.

Several other online gambling companies whose shares are traded in London, including 888 Holdings and Sportingbet, are still in talks with the U.S. Justice Department. Analysts expect them, along with companies like Bwin International, whose stock is traded in Vienna, to be involved in a round of consolidation in the industry – along with a possible eventual move back into the U.S..

Other countries, like Germany, Greece and the Netherlands, continue to hold out, though, in what the European Commission sees as an effort to protect government-sponsored gambling monopolies from private competition. The commission in March published a report arguing that the U.S. was violating World Trade Organization rules by keeping out European gambling companies, given that online betting on horse racing is allowed in the United States. The commission said that it favored negotiations, rather than legal action, to end the dispute.

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