Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Future of Gambling Websites - Web 3.0 and Beyond

Gaming websites became extremely popular in the late 90's and early 00's. The ease of use of these sites was a particularly strong draw. The sports fan no longer needed to go through the hassle of finding a guy on the street to take his action on the big game.

George Bush and Congress effectively killed online sports gambling in America by the passage of the SAFE Port Act, outlawing banks from entering into transactions with online gaming sites. The result was that many online gambling sites suspended real money operations.

As always, e-commerce is an extremely adaptive animal. The next generation of gaming sites is now surfacing and beginning to make a dent. The business model has changed from the site taking straight, real money bets. Now, we see sites popping up offering user against user wagers, aggregate weekly and season pick 'em type sites and sites awarding points or fictional dollar totals for correctly picking games. Usually, points or fictional dollars are redeemable for various prizes.

These new sites avoid the current gambling laws because, usually, they do not require the player to wager any real money. Thus, a key element in the definition of illegal gambling is missing. I also find it interesting that these new gaming sites are true web 2.0 and web 3.0 companies, offering collaboration and micro-social networks. Will these sites change the face of sports wagering? That remains to be seen.

If you have questions about the legality of sports gaming websites or any other type of e-commerce business, contact an experienced internet law attorney.

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