Online gambling is legal in the US and other countries. Most US states have legalized horse racing betting online, and individual states are beginning to legalize other forms of gambling. In 2011, the Department of Justice issued a legal opinion claiming that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and other forms of online gaming. Despite the legality of sports betting, gambling is still illegal in some countries.
In the 1990s, online gambling grew in popularity. Twenty-five websites were established in 1996, and by 1998, more than two hundred were operating. A report by Frost & Sullivan showed that online gambling revenues totaled more than $830 million in 1998. In 1998, the first online poker rooms appeared. In 1999, the US Senate introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which would have prohibited gambling online in the United States. Despite the fact that the UIGEA has not yet been passed, online gambling remains a popular activity.
France recently proposed new legislation to regulate and tax online gambling. Budget minister Eric Woerth stated that the proposed new laws would “adapt the gambling market to the Internet’s reality.” The new plans, however, will not include betting exchanges.