Online gambling is a relatively recent trend, though it is still controversial. Online gambling became popularized by the internet in the early 1990’s. The government of Antigua, a Caribbean island, passed a 1994 law that allowed online casino to have a home there. This law was called the Free Trade and Processing Act. Online gambling offers a wealth of opportunities to make money. Many entrepreneurs took advantage of the legal opportunity to launch this venture.
Many companies were established that year. More were set up in subsequent years. Some were involved in creating online casinos. Other companies designed the software required to handle the financial transactions and develop new games. The number of online casinos grew rapidly and they became very profitable businesses. Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican in Arizona, decided to lead the fight against online casinos. He introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act as a way to curb gambling in the United States. The bill did not pass Congress. However, online gambling thrived, possibly more so due to the media attention it received from the senator.
Online gambling continued and software packages were developed by several companies. These software packages could be leased for a percentage of the company’s earnings. This makes it possible to create new online gaming websites. Canada also started to restrict online gaming activities. In fact, it raided offices, and eventually finessed one of its largest online gambling servers.
Senator Kyl, who presented a revised version in 1999 of his Prohibition Act legislation, fails to receive the support required to pass. Australia, however, allows for the establishment of an Internet casino. The only one permitted is currently in operation. Many more casinos wanted to be licensed in Australia but the Australian government quickly enacted legislation that would prohibit any further online gambling.
In 2000, Bob Goodlatte from Virginia (Republican) introduces another revised Prohibition Act. This bill is then rejected again. Two bills that would reduce online gambling are introduced to Congress in the next year. One of these bills was an updated version the Wire Act. It makes it illegal to be in the gambling or betting business. The other bill aims to prevent online payments to online casinos by prohibiting U.S.-based institutions from processing such payments. This will make it more difficult for U.S. residents and citizens to engage online gambling.