Taking advantage of the Internet to place bets is the latest trend in gambling. The proliferation of online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks has increased substantially in the past few years. However, the legality of this form of gambling remains uncertain.
There have been several attempts to quantify the size of the online gambling industry. One attempt was undertaken by Bear Stearns & Co. They estimated that the online gambling industry was approximately $2 billion in 2000.
Another estimate was compiled by Christiansen Capital Advisors. They estimate that there were approximately six hundred to seven hundred websites operating in 2000. The revenue generated from these sites amounted to roughly 18 percent of all online gambling revenue. The corresponding figure for 2005 was roughly $4 billion.
Other attempts to measure the impact of online gambling on the United States have focused on analyzing the state gambling laws and their effect on interstate commerce. Some state officials have expressed a concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. The federal government has also reinforced state laws in some cases.
For instance, the Lopez Amendment was enacted to regulate the commercial activities of the gambling industry. The amendment comes with Congressional findings about the impact of gambling on interstate commerce.
The CRS Report RS21984 also cites several notable state gambling laws. The Liechtenstein International Lottery was the first Internet venue for the general public. The Liechtenstein International Lottery offers virtual poker.