The internet has made online gambling increasingly popular, but this phenomenon can be problematic for the consumer. While online gambling has been around for quite some time, the advent of internet casinos was seen as a form of end-run around government regulation. Because online casinos were operated by companies operating in offshore jurisdictions, anyone with a computer, a credit card, and an internet connection could access and participate in online gambling games. Regulators were concerned about the lack of regulation and sought ways to prevent consumers from being taken advantage of.
The first and most significant difference between online gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos is that the process of becoming addicted to gambling is much quicker and easier than the process of walking into a casino. In contrast, a traditional brick-and-mortar casino takes several years for a person to develop an addiction. Internet gambling has the added benefit of being easier to regulate and police than a live casino. Ultimately, online gambling has become an increasingly popular and accepted form of entertainment, and the legalization of online casinos has facilitated this growth.
While the federal government does not prohibit individual states from regulating or allowing online gambling, the federal UIGEA does not prohibit state governments from enacting legislation that allows sports betting. While most states prohibit sports wagering, only Nevada, Rhode Island, and Delaware have legal online sportsbooks that are connected to their state’s commercial casinos. Online sports betting in Washington, DC has a two-tiered structure, with publicly accessible online gambling offered by the DC Lottery. Privately operated sportsbooks, on the other hand, are available only within close proximity to a connected physical sportsbook.