The growth of online gambling accelerated during the late 1990s. By 1998, there were fifteen online gambling sites and more than two hundred in 1999. A report by Frost & Sullivan revealed that the industry generated over $830 million in revenues in the same year. Poker rooms were the first online gambling ventures to be introduced. In 1999, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was introduced in the US Senate, a bill that would have banned online gambling for U.S. citizens. Multiplayer online gambling was also introduced.
Although online gambling remains illegal in most countries, it is legal in 48 states. Utah and Hawaii have large Mormon populations, which may affect regulations. In Hawaii, residents are concerned about gambling’s effect on family relationships. While Idaho and Montana have little interest in legalizing gambling, several others have legalized it. For more information, see our online gambling guide. However, you should keep in mind that some states are more restrictive than others. Before you decide to start gambling online, learn as much as you can about its legality in your state.
While the prevalence of gambling problems is higher among highly involved gamblers, internet gambling may not necessarily lead to gambling problems. Research into problem gambling shows that Internet gambling is highly associated with risk of problems, but not all gamblers who engage in Internet gambling are at risk. Furthermore, one study found that the prevalence of gambling problems increases among younger people who use online gambling. But the effect is not as clear as many experts believed. In the meantime, we must work towards a more responsible gambling environment.