Laws Relating to Online Gambling
Online gambling was not a thriving industry in the United States until the late 1990s. By 2002, over a hundred gaming websites had opened for business. There were also fifteen online poker rooms. The revenues from these online gaming sites exceeded $830 million, according to a Frost & Sullivan report. However, the market is expected to continue to grow with the advent of more technologically advanced systems.
Online gambling is usually categorized into two groups: sports betting and casino games. Most countries, including the United States, have enacted laws that regulate these activities. Some jurisdictions have legalized gambling in some form, while others have banned it entirely. In India, the Bombay Wager Act is a major exception.
In addition to gambling, several other forms of activity are also illegal on the Internet. These include gambling on contests and sporting events, which is prohibited by the Wire Act. This is one of the reasons why many state officials are concerned about the Internet. They fear that it could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
There are a number of federal criminal statutes that have been implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet. For example, the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act have both been used to punish people for placing bets on the Internet. Also, the Federal Communications Commission has the power to shut down internet facilities if they believe they are being used for illegal purposes.
Another notable law is the Travel Act, which prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce. This legislation is not only applicable to internet casinos, but also to individuals who participate in games of chance in another state, such as a horse race. If you are found to have violated this law, you can be fined up to $6,000.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was introduced in 2007. It is a relatively new law that was put into place to protect the government from fraud. It includes provisions such as appropriate data security standards and location verification. Nevertheless, the law has been widely criticized by those who claim it is a misguided attempt to clamp down on illegal Internet gambling.
While UIGEA was not passed, a bill called HR 2046 was introduced in April 2007. This law would amend the UIGEA to include a licensing system for internet gambling facilities. Under the plan, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FCE Network) would be responsible for granting licenses to those seeking to engage in gambling on the Internet.
One of the many benefits of the UIGEA is that it has created some Congressional studies of its efficacy. A particular study dubbed the ‘Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues’ was published in December of 2002. Despite being more than a decade old, the report still offers useful information. Among other things, it identifies the main reasons why the law has not been a success.
While there are still many outstanding issues associated with the UIGEA, these are the most important to understand. As with any federal law, it reinforces state law in cases where it is lacking. Nonetheless, the law has been challenged on constitutional grounds.