The Federal Government and State Laws Governing Internet Gambling
Internet gambling includes sports betting, casinos, and virtual poker. It also includes the maintenance and sale of slot machines and lotteries. Some states and the federal government have acted to regulate these activities. However, many have challenged the constitutionality of the laws regulating these activities on various grounds. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the power to stop furnishing or maintaining facilities for these activities.
The United States Attorney General’s Office is enforcing federal laws against illegal Internet gambling. This activity is considered to be a crime under seven federal statutes. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
According to the law, any person who uses a computer to place bets or receives bets is engaged in unlawful internet gambling. The law specifically defines illegal Internet gambling as “the use of the Internet, or any part of the Internet, to conduct an online gambling business.” A person may only use the Internet to conduct a gambling business in an authorized state.
Gambling activities are primarily governed by the laws of the individual state where the activity is taking place. However, federal law is often reinforced by state law. For example, the law against certain forms of sexual conduct in the home was used by the Fifth Circuit to prosecute the owner of a casino. Another example is the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Act (RICO). Whether state law can prohibit the use of the internet for a gambling business has been the subject of several cases.
The Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues report was published in December 2002. The report included references to the laws of state gambling jurisdictions, as well as the text of several statutes. Also, the report contained an abridged version of the CRS Report RS21984 with citations to the statutes it described.
Various state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet may be used for illegal gambling. While most Internet gambling is legal, the laws governing this activity have been challenged on constitutional grounds. Among the arguments that have been made are that the First Amendment guarantees free speech and that the Commerce Clause allows the state to enforce its laws against gambling. However, these attacks have yet to produce much success.
One of the most common forms of illegal Internet gambling is sports betting. Sports betting sites typically feature games that allow a player to place a bet on a sporting event. These sites are compatible with any laptop or PC. Typically, a player is required to enter his credit card details and make a deposit. After making a deposit, he is able to play the game. Typically, a sports betting site will have a list of upcoming sporting events, and a player can click on the sport to view the upcoming games.
There are also other types of online gambling. One of the simplest is sports betting. Online casinos require more complex software. A typical online casino will have an “instant” game, which is a graphical representation of a real casino game. Usually, a player can choose to play a specific type of wager or to start a new round of the game.