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Written by Kelli Smithgall

~Gambling’s Beginning Roots~

Gambling has literally been around since the beginning of time and is a common term for various games.  Each game having their own unique history gradually ended up gravitating their way into each other. Gambling has always played an important part in history and has always sparked controversy.

Gambling has religious roots in all of the world’s religions and is speculated to have deep spiritual meaning dating back to the beginning of time. In Christianity, there is a reference to gambling in which lots that were cast for Jesus’ clothing after his death and stone dice or other game pieces that were used as a method for determining God’s will.  Native Americans and Hindus believed game boards and pieces were considered sacred altars. Ancient Egyptians had hieroglyphics with the deceased playing dice games to show games can continue through the afterlife.  In reflection of this history, it does seem rather odd that today many religions view gambling as an evil.

~Gambling Defined and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act~

The term gambling, everybody has heard of it or knows someone who does it.  Trying to pinpoint a true definition of the word, I went to several sources.  It was interesting to find that the majority of definitions for gambling all involve the aspect of playing a game of chance.  However, a few sources out there did happen to mention otherwise.  For example, in the Columbia Encyclopedia, it is defined as “the betting of money or valuables on and/or participation of games of chance which involves degrees of skill”.

The definition of Gambling has a lot to due with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Chance versus skill is actually the issue surrounding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).  The UIGEA is the tightening of enforcement of online operating groups and their acceptance of payments from players in the United States for online gambling.  If gambling is considered a game of skill then it might be excluded from the national anti-gambling legislation.

The UIGEA was attached to the “Security and Accountability for Every Port Act” (SAFE Port Act) the night prior to Congress adjourning before the 2006 mid-term elections.  It was designed as a “must pass” piece of legislation which oddly enough in relation to gambling did not have anything to do with Safe Port Act.  In addition, there was never a separate vote taken by the Senate House Conference Committee on the UIGEA.  President George W. Bush signed the law on October 13th, 2006. The law does not exclude the use of the Internet for transactions within a state, on tribal reservations or in relation to horse racing and lotteries.  The Department of Justice however states that in-state Internet gambling is illegal which makes the law difficult to comprehend, and every state does have their own definition as well.