Online Gambling is a growing industry that offers gamblers the opportunity to place bets on various sports games and other events. While gambling has long been a part of American culture, the advent of the Internet has added a new dimension to it. In addition to traditional casinos and lotteries, online gambling has allowed users to bet on everything from sports to virtual poker to casino games.
The popularity of online gambling has prompted the Department of Justice to explore its legal and regulatory implications. To this end, the government has weighed in on the topic with a series of reports. Those reports, which include the Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues and CRS Report RS21984 on the Internet Gambling Mover, have a lot to say about the online gambling landscape.
As far as what is legal and illegal, the laws vary from state to state. For example, New Jersey requires people to be 21 years of age to enter a casino and has a minimum gambling age of 18. However, many states have different laws pertaining to different types of gambling. There are also laws in place that prohibit players from using interstate facilities for unlawful activities.
Various federal statutes have been implicated in cases of alleged illegal gambling on the Internet. This includes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Money Laundering Control Act, the Lotteries and Gaming Act, the Federal Wire Act, and the Travel Act. Each of these federal laws has its own benefits and drawbacks, however. Some of them have been criticized on constitutional grounds.
The most notable aspect of the UIGEA is its ability to regulate commercial activity. Many online operators were able to establish businesses offshore and avoid federal prosecution. One online gambling provider, PayPal, was warned by the federal prosecutors that it could face criminal prosecution if it were to continue to facilitate illegal Internet gambling transactions.
Another notable law is the Sports Book. This is a specialized type of betting that is not available at most brick and mortar casinos. Instead, the only places you can bet on the outcome of a sporting event are at casinos with sports book. Despite its legal status, this type of betting has become increasingly popular, especially among the young.
The UIGEA has also spawned its own controversies, as a number of Internet gambling sites have been found to be deceptive and take advantage of their players. A number of these sites are not regulated, and therefore leave your personal data vulnerable to hackers. Even worse, the sites’ owners can use your information to promote other gambling related offerings.
Despite these limitations, the UIGEA has paved the way for future innovations in the field of online gambling. For example, a number of websites now offer apps that allow gamblers to place bets from anywhere. Additionally, some casinos have even implemented live scores in their apps.
There are no clear cut answers as to how best to regulate or police online gambling. Some state officials have voiced concerns that the Internet may be used to bring illegal gambling into their states. Others have argued that the commercial nature of the business is an appropriate basis for regulation.