Online betting is any form of betting conducted over the internet. This includes sports betting, casinos and virtual poker. The first online betting venue open to the public, was online ticketing for the hugely successful Liechtenstein International lottery in 1994. The tradition has now spread to online casino Singapore in a variety of countries including the UK and the US. In this paper we will look at online betting from both a legal and ethical perspective.
In the UK, online gambling has been treated very differently to traditional land-based gambling. Gambling law in the UK is almost entirely controlled by Local Authorities with the Privy Council taking a limited amount of power over the regulation of online gambling. Legislation regarding online betting in the UK is largely confined to England and Wales, where there are very few regulatory measures in force. The closest thing to regulation comes in the form of a few industry bodies such as the Ladbrokes Horse Racing Board and the National Horse Racing Dealers Association. These bodies have limited influence over the online gambling industry and the lack of regulation is worrying for the online gambling industry.
An example of a significant limitation in the UK regulation of online gambling takes the form of a clause inserted into the UK National Security Authority Act. This stipulation states that operators of online gaming websites must display a prominent warning sign above or on each of their gambling tables that gambling is available to anyone who approaches them. This stipulation also applies to all telephone companies who provide access to the Internet. It may seem simple, but many operators of online gaming websites have found it difficult to comply with this requirement, because the majority of online gaming operators are based in countries outside of the UK. Many operators of remote gambling websites may also have to obtain separate licenses to operate from within the UK. One would expect an operator of an online betting website operating from his home in the United Kingdom to be perfectly aware of the statutory requirements that he must fulfil in order to operate a gambling website in the UK.
The lack of regulation has not dampened the growth of online betting in New Jersey, but the growth has been slow and unnoticeable in comparison to the growth in online betting and wagering across the USA. New Jersey’s lack of regulation has allowed a number of online betting websites to open without ensuring adequate controls on their activities. Many of these websites were owned by offshore entities and had no legal status in the New Jersey state. This enabled them to open wagering games online in New Jersey despite the fact that they were based outside the state. Some of the offshore owned online betting websites also operated under false pretences, for which they received virtual accounts from clients in the USA.
The lack of effective regulatory controls in the UK gambling industry has led to a situation where a large number of online gamblers have been incorrectly wins money from UK lottery and betting games. The UK gambling commission is now considering the recommendations of an external group which would implement a system of controls to ensure that the lottery and betting games in the UK are regulated and fair. The development of the Lottery has brought a large amount of revenue to the UK, which forms a major source of income for the government. The additional income from the online gambling industry has helped the government to increase its budget for the running of the country.
While many UK gambling companies operate offshore, a large number of UK based companies
have their offices and operations in the country. A major portion of these companies are family businesses based in the UK who wish to retain some tax advantages over time. As an example, many gaming companies offer loyalty points and online casinos as incentives to customers. An employee of a casino can be sent to work from home via an internet connection rather than having to pay the costs of transport to work. This all saves the employee money in the long run and reduces the amount of taxes that are paid. Online gaming is only one area of the UK online gambling industry and is by no means the main provider of income for either the government or the private sector.