Online gambling is the use of the Internet to place or receive bets. It includes sports betting, virtual poker, casinos, and lotteries. In some instances, the process can be done in person or on the phone.
Although state law largely controls the field of online gambling, federal law can reinforce state law in cases of misconduct. The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) is a good example of this. This act is designed to curb the proliferation of illegal Internet gambling activities by creating factors to weed out low-level gamblers.
There are a number of different federal statutes that are implicated in the illegal Internet gambling arena. These include the Wire Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Each of these statutes has its own pros and cons. However, they do have a common denominator: they are all criminal.
There have been numerous legal challenges to the enforcement of federal gambling laws. Some of these have relied on constitutional principles, such as the Free Speech Clause or the Due Process Clause. Others have focused on the commercial nature of the business. While it has been suggested that the commercial nature of the industry satisfies the Commerce Clause, it has also been criticized for limiting First Amendment protections.
One of the first online gambling venues for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. Although this was not the first of its kind, it is the first to allow people to bet on games without leaving home. Since then, online casinos have become more popular. Today, they are offering a variety of games, including traditional titles such as roulette and video slots.
A few years ago, the United States marshals seized approximately three million dollars from Discovery Communications and Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rican casino operation. That same year, PayPal issued a warning to customers that it could face prosecution for making payments for illegal Internet gambling.
For those who enjoy betting on a variety of sports events, the online gambling industry has grown to the point that many states have passed their own legislation to regulate it. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a sports betting bill into law in 2010.
The UIGEA and its predecessor, the IGA, are the most recent pieces of legislation to affect the Internet gambling industry. Other measures aimed at preventing online gambling include the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) requirements, and the nifty-fools-maze of the law.
While there are no clear cut answers to all of the questions regarding the legality of online gambling, it is worth looking into the facets of this particular field. It is an area that is growing by leaps and bounds. And it is one that will only continue to grow as technology improves. With mobile devices becoming increasingly prevalent in our society, we can expect to see even more innovations in the gaming industry in the near future.