Online gambling has become an extremely popular activity and is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Some people see it as a way to unwind, others see it as a threat to their well being and other people view it as a hobby. However, there are many legal options available for online gamblers.
A number of states allow residents to play on sites like PokerStars and Caesars Casino. These websites also offer mobile applications that can be used to play poker, casino games and other gambling activities. They also generate tax revenue and create jobs. The problem is that in some places, the internet is used to promote illegal activities.
There are several laws that have been passed by the US government to limit the types of games that are played, and the methods that are used to win them. One such law is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which limits the activities of sports betting organizations. In addition, the government has regulated gambling on Native American lands, and has prohibited unauthorized transportation of lottery tickets between states.
Another federal law that has been enacted is the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling on sports events. This act does not apply to digital wagering, which is the newer form of gambling. Despite the legality of online gambling, state officials are concerned that it will be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
The US government has used its powers under the Commerce Clause to regulate certain gambling operations on Native American lands, and the Travel Act has made it illegal for a player to place a bet on an interstate gambling facility. While it is not clear whether Congress has the authority to prohibit all forms of online gambling, a few states have opted to pass laws that explicitly ban such activity.
One of the biggest challenges to broader online gambling regulation is the morality of the practice. As with all forms of gambling, some people will view it as an enjoyable pastime, while others will view it as a threat to their wellbeing.
Regardless of one’s perceptions, online gambling is a growing industry and it is becoming harder for politicians to ignore its potential impact. Online casinos and poker sites are not yet legal in all territories, but should be in the near future. Many states have taken steps to regulate these activities, including setting minimum age requirements for those wishing to gamble and limiting the scope of gambling by allowing only certain types of bets and events.
Other laws have been passed to address the security issues associated with gambling on the Internet. For example, the Illegal Gambling Business Act makes it unlawful for financial transaction providers to receive or accept financial instruments from persons engaged in illegal Internet bets. Additionally, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provision of the law provides a means of preventing illegal gambling business activities.
Although there are several laws that are applicable to online gambling, the best place to start is with the CRS Report RS21984: Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues. It is available in an abridged version that includes a variety of citations to state gambling laws.