In the age of the Internet, you can trust technology to stay one step ahead of the law. Indeed, you can bet on it. Frustrated for decades by laws prohibiting sports betting and casino gambling, growing numbers of Americans are spinning the roulette wheel at “virtual casinos” on the World Wide Web. These cyber-casinos, set out of reach of the law in discreet Caribbean islands, allow gamblers to indulge themselves in the comfort of a home computer. Bets can be placed by credit card or money order.
Ordinary casinos live under strict regulations, including auditing and ownership background checks; but virtual casinos are hampered by１２２ none of this. It is almost impossible to check payments in and out of the system or to find out whether companies are fixing the software to cheat customers. According to a director at the Treasury Department's financial crimes enforcement network, “This new industry has done very little to make its activities inhospitable to persons engaged or interested in committing financial fraud.”There are already reports of casinos disappearing from the Internet after failing to pay out winnings.
The Interactive Gaming Council supports on-line gambling, but would like to see it regulated. Some want to ban it. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, now before Congress, would do just that. Missouri and Minnesota are trying to prosecute Internet casino operators, and Florida is investigating several companies. But most have moved outside American jurisdiction; and, besides, bets on virtual casinos are almost impossible to detect, As one deputy attorney-general puts it, “They probably feel pretty safe from our shackles. There isn't a whole lot we can do.”