I first wrote about online gambling in my book for parents on cybersafety - A Parent's Guide to the Internet, published in 1997. It was the first cybersafety book written for parents in the world.
Even then, kids were gambling online - illegally, but gambling nonetheless.
Aside the fact that parents wanted to be able to keep their kids from gambling, many gambling sites were committing fraud, refusing to pay winners, rigging the games and sending malicious code and assisting in money laundering.
In the US online gambling is covered by the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). It technically doesn't make gambling online illegal. It instead prohibits the use of any financial institution from permitting transfers/payments for gambling.
Our belief is that the best way to protect consumers from fraud, scams and underage online gambling is by legalizing it. Then we can regulate it, set rules and require that they run honest games, keep kids off and prevent illegal activities, such as money laundering and privacy violations.
We have been exploring this as one of the new issues we are facing online. Barney Frank's new bill addresses this issue. We have commissioned a study using independent academics to see if this provides answers to the risks we have identified.
Want to know what we think and why? Feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.