Online gambling has become a popular activity in the United States. The United States has a number of different laws that regulate gambling. These include the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act. While these laws provide some protection against illegal gambling, they do not cover all online gambling activities.
However, there is a federal law that prevents the use of financial instruments for illegal Internet bets. This is known as the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). There are a number of other criminal statutes that are implicated.
Under Section 1956 of the IGBA, a person commits a crime if they launder with the intent to promote illicit activity. Another crime is the laundering of funds with the purpose of concealing or evading taxes. A third crime is the laundering of funds with the intent to disguise or evade a law enforcement sting.
Other states have enacted similar legislation. For example, the state of New Jersey has legalized online sports betting. Some provinces in Canada have also introduced laws on online gambling. Most European Union countries allow online gambling. In France, lawmakers proposed a new law that would tax and regulate internet gambling.
Although there have been various attacks on these laws based on free speech or the Commerce Clause, these have been unsuccessful so far. Rather, state officials have expressed concerns that online gambling could be used to facilitate illegal activities in their jurisdictions.
Online gambling has gained popularity since the late 1990s. The first online poker room opened in 1998. By the end of 1999, there were nearly two hundred gambling websites. At that time, the revenues from online gambling were estimated at $830 million. Many countries and states around the world have passed restrictions on online gambling.
Several bills have been introduced in the US Senate and the House, including the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2046). HR 2046 is a bill that would require licensing of online gambling facilities. It also would change the UIGEA.
Since then, other states have taken action against online gambling. Maharashtra and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have passed bans on online gambling. Additionally, the Wire Act is one of the federal laws that prohibits gambling. Similarly, there is a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which bans illegal gambling business activities.
Despite these statutes, the Internet gambling industry continues to thrive. Some casinos have even incorporated mobile devices to play games of chance for money. With the advent of smartphones and tablet computers, online casinos have grown in popularity. Moreover, there are numerous apps that let you wager on your favorite sports teams. Betting sites offer a variety of games, including bingo and poker. Live casino games can be played at some online gambling sites. Lastly, the horse racing betting markets are available at most major bookmakers.
As with most types of online gambling, the laws on this topic are complicated. The federal Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Wire Act are the most important statutes to watch. Unlike most other legal issues, the federal government can impose penalties on companies that break gambling guidelines. Specifically, if a business fails to meet certain criteria, it can face a fine of up to six months in prison. If a business does not meet the requirements of an online gaming license, it can also be prosecuted.