Wagers at the Tip of a Finger

Wagers at the Tip of a Finger

Written by: Manny Diaz

In the United States gambling and conducting a gambling business are crimes as per the federal prohibition of illegal gambling businesses, with the only exception being lottery and bingo style gambling and gaming.[1] Select areas in the country, like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and certain areas of New York, Connecticut, and Delaware, do allow for state legalized gambling and gaming. Gambling and gaming is one of the largest industries in the United States. In 2012 alone, casinos and gaming businesses beat players out of over $37 billion dollars.[2] Of this $37 billion, $13 billion went to pay employee salary and benefits, while another $8.6 billion was paid in the form of gambling taxes.[3] The increase in revenue generated by gambling and gaming has resulted in the implementation of bringing casino games and gambling to the Internet. This is known as online gambling. While a federal law exists prohibiting gambling, no such law exists in regards to the prohibition of online gambling. What does exist in relation to Internet or online gambling is the Prohibition on acceptance of any financial instrument for unlawful Internet gambling.[4] This law prevents banking institutions from participating in in these transactions, thus creating a hurdle between the gambling institution and the consumer. [5]

The dangers with ordinary face to face or in person gambling are well documented. Someone who suffers with a gambling addiction stands in the position to lose large amounts when participating in gambling and gaming related activities.[6] These problems are exacerbated when someone has the opportunity to gamble via the Internet. Someone gambling via the Internet presumably has more access to funds than if they had personally traveled to a casino, horse track, or a gaming institution thus exposing themselves to an increased chance of losing out on a severe amount of money. Furthermore, online gambling has a potential to allow underage consumers access to gambling that would unlikely exist if the minor was required to physically attend the avenue where he or she wanted to gamble. While these factors would likely incline an unbiased decision maker to lean towards more federal legislation in regards to online gambling, there are several factors that require consideration. The Casino industry throughout the United States has been on a decline.[7]7 A lack of preventative legislation towards online gambling would be a good step in maintaining the large tax revenue already brought in from in person gambling. If the continuing decline in gambling results in Casino’s being shutdown, the amount of jobs lost could be mitigated by having more websites allowing for online gambling thus resulting in new positions opening up. In a world that is trending towards becoming more technology based it makes sense that an industry as large as the gaming and gambling industry follow suite.

[1] 18 U.S.C. § 1955

[2] Gaming Revenue: 10-Year Trend,  AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION, http:// www.americangaming.org/industry-resources/research/fact-sheets/gaming-revenue-10-year-trends (last visited Aug. 29, 2014).

[3] Id.

[4] 31 U.S.C. § 5365.

[5] See Id.

[6] Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling, HELPGUIDE, http:// www.helpguide.org/articles/ addiction/gambling-addiction-and-problem-gambling.htm  (last visited Oct. 3, 2014).

[7] Casinos are a Declining Industry, CASINO, http://casinofreenh.org/4-casinos-are-a-declining-industry/ (last visited Aug. 29, 2014).


Author: Manuel Diaz

Manuel Diaz is a second year law student at Rutgers School of Law-Newark and an Associate Editor of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal. He graduated from Temple University and received her B.A. in Criminal Justice. Prior to attending law school, he worked in the banking industry for the Bank of New Jersey. Manuel Diaz is also a Co-Vice President of the Association of Latin American Law Students and a Representative for the Association of Black Law Students. Over the summer, he interned at Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC in Newark, New Jersey. In his free time, Manny enjoys reading fictional novels, listening to music, and wine tasting.