The Federal Government’s Role in Online Gambling
Online gambling is the process of placing bets or wagers on a game of chance. This could be a virtual poker game or it could be sports betting. Regardless of whether you choose to play in an online casino or a sportsbook, you should know that there are certain legal issues to be aware of. For starters, it is illegal to bet on a sporting event without a license.
The Wire Act and the Travel Act are two other major federal laws that apply to Internet casinos. The Wire Act prohibits the illegal gambling of contests and sporting events, while the Travel Act covers players who engage in illegal activities when using interstate facilities. It also may be a good idea to educate your children about online gambling.
While the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, questions have been raised regarding the legislative authority to punish individuals for gambling on the internet. In some cases, this has caused the First Amendment to come into play. Nonetheless, the arguments have been somewhat inconclusive.
Aside from the Wire Act, the Travel Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act, there are other laws that apply to internet gambling. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.
The UIGEA essentially entails a list of factors that can weed out low-level gambling cases, such as age verification and data security standards. Additionally, the UIGEA makes it unlawful to receive financial instruments for bets placed on the Internet.
On a more positive note, the UIGEA does allow for some commercial activity. However, the statutes it imposes have been challenged on constitutional grounds. Specifically, the Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause are under attack. Although the First Amendment does provide a limited amount of protection for crime facilitating speech, this has not proved particularly effective in stymieing attempts to prosecute online gamblers.
Aside from the UIGEA, the federal government has been involved in several other cases that have made the laws surrounding illegal Internet gambling look confusing. These include United States v. Grey, United States v. Mick, and United States v. O’Brien.
These cases involve the illegal gambling of wagers on the outcome of a football game, poker tournament, or horse race. One case in particular involves the Liechtenstein International Lottery, which was the first venue to offer online gaming to the public.
Other cases have revolved around gambling that was legal in one state but illegal in another. Some of these cases involved bartenders and managers who were responsible for running video poker machines at establishments. Others involved layoff bettors.
Another type of gambling is known as skin betting, where you wager on the result of a game that you are not interested in. There are many games on the internet with this type of gameplay. However, it is important to remember that it is still illegal to bet on a game you are not interested in.