Illegal gambling on the internet is illegal in the United States under the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Wire Act. These laws are designed to keep online gamblers from using interstate facilities to place and receive bets. However, it is not just these laws that are at issue. Several other federal criminal statutes also have implications.
The First Amendment provides limited protection for the crime facilitating a speech. This means that while the government can cite a particular law to bolster a case, it cannot go so far as to enact its own legislation. Nonetheless, the Constitution does allow for free speech in the name of commerce. Some legislators have sought to regulate gambling on the Internet with the hope of turning off the casual gambler.
In addition to state and federal legislation, public sentiment plays a significant role in the online gambling environment. A slew of legal challenges have been mounted against the federal laws governing gambling. Many of these attacks are based on the Commerce Clause or the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. They haven’t been particularly successful, however.
One challenge involves the UIGEA, which is intended to impede the financial transaction providers (FPPSs) from accepting financial instruments from illegal Internet bettors. Another is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, which are designed to discourage illegal gambling business activities.
Other laws that are important to the law of the land are the Travel Act and the Wire Act. Both of these laws protect consumers from gambling on sporting events. Even though the Wire Act specifically bans gambling on contests, this law applies to Internet casinos as well. Similarly, the Travel Act prohibits gambling on interstate commerce.
Online gambling is growing in popularity. Hundreds of thousands of people gamble on the Internet every day, and this number is only expected to increase. Although it isn’t always easy to figure out whether you are legally playing, there are several basic rules you can follow to help make your online gaming experience safer and less risky.
There are many different sites on the internet, and each one of them has its own set of rules and regulations. Generally, the best approach is to find an online casino with a good reputation and a safe and secure web address. Ensure that the site has licensing information available and that it has monitoring systems in place. It’s a good idea to play for fun, rather than real money, and to choose a user name that doesn’t reveal any personal information. If you do happen to fall victim to an online scam, don’t be afraid to contact the authorities. Victim Support is available to provide free assistance.
It is worth noting that even though gambling is legal in most states, a large portion of the industry is operated by companies that are barely known to the general public. Many of these small firms pay lower taxes than the larger, more established, land-based gambling businesses.