Law and Online Gambling
A. International Agreements
Because a national approach to the exercise of jurisdiction and regulation of Internet activity can have detrimental effects, the Internet requires an international approach. No International Agreements currently exist to regulate any facet of the Internet. The absence of such agreements has inevitably generated some problems between sovereign nations with different jurisprudential ideologies. While the U.S. Justice Department officials are claiming Internet gambling is illegal in the United States, the governments of Monaco, Antigua and Belize, among others, endorse Internet gambling. Exorbitant assertions of jurisdiction by the United States on foreign on-line casinos could provoke diplomatic protests, trigger commercial or judicial retaliation and threaten friendly relations in unrelated fields. The United States should seek and endeavor to establish an international policy regarding gambling on the Internet. Whether such international agreement makes Internet gambling illegal across the board, or whether it simply regulates the industry, unless some uniform policy is reached, conflicts and breakdown of relations are likely to occur. A uniform international agreement will certainly not happen overnight. Due to cultural and ideological differences, the realization of an international agreement addressing Internet gambling or the Internet in general will only occur at a slow pace. International solutions, which might help to solve cyberspace-specific problems of lack of territoriality or abundance of territorial links, are still at a very early stage of development.
Until an international agreement is reached, if at all, self-regulation may be the only method currently available to regulate Internet gambling. Current and near-future technology may assist parents, educators, and employers in limiting the effects that gambling may have on children, students, and employees. Filters can serve as effective tools to combat unwanted access to web sites and services. In addition, the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) is trying to develop the technology to support an Internet rating system.
On-line gambling is a hit. It is here to stay. By various estimates, this new type of gambling will undoubtedly be one of the top money-making businesses on the Internet. The United States government appears to become increasingly concerned with the activity and it may seek to make this profitable enterprise illegal. However, because the existing applicable statutes never contemplated such a thing as an information superhighway, the DOJ faces a steep uphill battle in opposing on-line gambling. From jurisdictional issues to enforcement problems, on-line gambling presents itself as, of yet, an untouchable product of the Internet. Due to the very nature of the Internet and on-line gambling, and until an International agreement is reached, the United States alone cannot prevent off-shore based gambling operators, which are lawfully licensed, from operating and reaping profits on the Internet.
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