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New US law have not stopped internet gambling. Offshore sites simply set up shop where US law enforcers can't reach them, and domestic gamblers are finding alternative ways to pay.

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New US law have not stopped internet gambling. Offshore sites simply set up shop where US law enforcers can't reach them, and domestic gamblers are finding alternative ways to pay.

When the US Congress specifically criminalised internet gambling at the end of September by outlawing credit-card payments to the services, it failed to stop aspiring card sharks and sports fans from parting with their wages, experts say.

People who bet online will not face criminal prosecution under the law because it does not ban internet gambling; instead it requires that banks and other financial institutions block credit-card payments to gambling sites.

"If you send a cheque in, you'll be fine. There's no way it's going to stop," said Frank Catania, a former New Jersey gambling regulator who currently lobbies for the online-gambling industry. The Federal Reserve is not expected to force banks to screen personal cheques or other payment methods that are more difficult to track, experts say.

Internet gambling is booming. By last summer, US gamblers accounted for half of the industry's $12 billion (£6.17bn) in revenue, and online gambling stocks of the likes of PartyGaming were flying high on the London Stock Exchange.

In the wake of the law's passage, investors in London sold off PartyGaming and other Internet gambling stocks, erasing $7bn from the stock exchange in a matter of days. Many of those British companies said they would no longer accept wagers from their most lucrative market across the Atlantic.