The Legality of Online Gambling
Gambling is playing a game of chance or skill for money. It typically includes betting on a sports game, lottery or other event, such as a race. However, it also involves bookmaking and maintaining slot machines and dice tables.
The Internet has played an increasingly large role in the expansion of gambling, both in the United States and abroad. The legality of online gambling has been challenged on both constitutional and regulatory grounds. There are many countries that have laws prohibiting the practice, while others allow it. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on how much you can wager and the types of games you can play. Some states have laws limiting how much you can gamble and restricting the age at which you can gamble. Some forms of gambling are illegal in the United States, including horse racing and poker.
The Department of Justice has maintained that all forms of Internet gambling are illegal. A number of bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives to regulate the industry. One bill, HR 2046, aims to amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). It would require licensing of gambling facilities by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
The Justice Department has also announced that the Wire Act will apply to all forms of Internet gambling. It is uncertain whether federal law will preempt state actions in the Internet arena, especially as state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to transport illegal gambling operations to their jurisdictions.
In December 2002, the General Accounting Office issued a report on online gambling. The report identifies several issues related to online gambling. It is available as an abridged version. It contains citations to state gambling laws and the text of the statutes. The report also provides an overview of the legal aspects of gambling.
The Senate has considered legislation to prohibit online gambling in the past. Some of these bills would have restricted gambling activities to horse races, but other proposals would have prohibited any type of online gambling, with the exception of state lotteries.
Several other states have enacted gambling laws in the past. For example, New Jersey offered legal sports betting to residents. Some states have regulated casino gaming and horse racing, while others limit betting on these activities to individuals aged eighteen or older. In addition, gambling establishments are often located on ships outside the territorial waters of the United States.
There are three key elements that constitute gambling: risk, the desire to win something of value, and the use of a prize. To operate an illegal gambling business, a person must have a substantial continuous operation for at least thirty days. A business owner who breaks these guidelines can be fined or imprisoned. In some cases, the owners of gambling businesses can forfeit their estimated profits.
In recent years, gambling activity has exploded on Native American territory. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has regulated online gaming activity from the Mohawk Territory. Several other Indian nations have authorized online gambling, although these laws are not specifically aimed at this market.