Not only has the Internet brought gambling into the home, it has made it anonymous and readily available to virtually anyone at any time and at any place. As a result, the popularity of Internet gambling has skyrocketed over the past few years. Since the first virtual online casino started up in 1995, the industry has grown to over 450 gambling websites. In 1997, Internet gambling produced at least $200 million in business. Conservative estimates conclude that online gambling will bring in at least $3 billion of annual revenue by 2003. Gambling over the Internet can be performed in most traditional manners. "Virtual" casinos and sports books, however, continue to lead the online gambling industry.
A typical on-line gambling experience is as quick and easy as turning on your computer and going to your favourite gambling Web site. Gamblers first click on a link that takes them to an "account-opening" page where they can access their account and/or deposit more money.
Once the account is opened, funds can be deposited by using a credit card, certified check, money order, or through a wire transfer. When the account has funds, gamblers are ready to play. If they win, the amount of the bet will automatically be credited in their account. If, however, they lose, the loss will be deducted from their account.
While Internet gambling popularity continues to grow, so do the concerns surrounding the business. Questions concerning the legality, potential dangers and moral issues have made this industry a controversial topic. In this paper I will first briefly examine the social/political concerns about online gambling. I will then discuss the two main legal approaches that Canada could take in dealing with online gambling and the issues involved in these approaches.
As Internet gambling rises in popularity, concern over...