The online gambling debate is expected to heat up soon with the launch of Interactive Gaming & Communications' site called WiseGuy Sports Wagering System, a service which allows gamblers to pull slots and throw dice for real cash on the Net.
The online gambling market promises to be a good one. The legal gambling business in the United States pulls in $482 billion a year and some analysts predict that the online gambling business will generate $10 billion a year by the year 2000.
But online gambling laws are unclear, specifically the laws that cross state and national boundaries.
Current laws prohibit the transmission of wagering information by wire, which could include the Internet.
Legislation has already been introduced in Congress that would make it a misdemeanor to place a bet on the Net and a felony to accept it, according to I. Nelson Rose, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in gambling law.
But for now, virtual casinos are taking advantage of the already competitive market.
World Wide Web Casinos has set up a Net casino that allows gamblers to play blackjack, poker, slot machines, and keno with friends or strangers.
Virtual Vegas, another online casino, is trying to attract gamblers by providing Hotjava poker, along with craps, slots, and poker.
Virtual Vegas says it's the "Entertainment Site Where Everyone's A Winner." That may be true for now, but the government is certain to step in when and if online gambling takes off.