(Illustration by Pai/Bay Area News Group)
For years, it has been illegal for U.S. companies to offer online gambling. But the situation is changing rapidly. What's happening: New Jersey and Nevada last month joined Delaware in approving legalized online gambling in their states. The moves followed a change by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011 in its stance on whether Internet gambling is prohibited by federal law. The states are authorizing online gambling to various degrees: New Jersey will allow all games; Nevada, only online poker. What's next: Other states, including California, are considering whether to make online gambling legal. For now, states can authorize gambling only within their borders. But a proposed federal law would legalize interstate gambling. Alternatively, states are considering creating one-by-one agreements with other states to allow gambling between their residents and companies. What it will mean: In states that have authorized online gambling, residents will be able to play online poker for money, buy lottery tickets online and play casino games such as slot machines or blackjack, depending on what their state has authorized. Social gaming companies, including Zynga, also hope to offer real-money wagering and prizes in their games. Some consumer advocates worry casino and social gaming companies will use sophisticated online marketing techniques to target young people and those most likely to be problem gamblers.
Source: Staff research