Online Gambling is a form of gambling that allows people to wager money using a computer or mobile phone. Many of these sites offer free play for visitors to try out the games, but players who decide to gamble for real money must register on the site and open an account. This usually involves providing some personal information and creating a user name and password. Then, funds can be deposited using a credit or debit card. Many online casinos also offer a variety of other ways to make money, including through bonuses and jackpots.
The popularity of online gambling has grown rapidly in recent years. In 1996 there were about 15 Internet gambling websites, but by 1998 the number had risen to over 200. The growth of the industry was partly due to the rapid development of technology that made it possible for people to gamble from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
Unlike traditional casinos, online gambling is not regulated on a federal level in the United States, and each state has its own laws about the activity. However, the government has taken steps to protect consumers by prosecuting some of the biggest operators and blocking access to their websites.
The best online gambling websites promote responsible behavior and provide tools for players to manage their betting habits. They also create a community of players where they can support each other and share their experiences. This is an important step in the effort to make gambling a safe and fun activity for everyone.