If you have been following the news recently, you might have noticed that the federal government is attempting to thwart online gambling. This includes legal and illegal gaming activities on the internet. Whether these laws are upheld is a matter of debate. However, they are unlikely to preempt state action in this arena. State officials have expressed concerns about the ability of the internet to bring unlawful gambling to their jurisdictions.
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (IGRA) would license and regulate internet gambling businesses and tax them. This law is aimed at protecting consumer interests by regulating the industry. Although it is unlikely to have a major impact on the legality of internet gambling in the United States, it does provide for certain requirements for operators.
Another federal law affecting illegal gambling on the internet is the Wire Act. It is used to prohibit illegal wagering on sports, contests and other events. Operators may be fined and imprisoned for violating the statute. An exception applies if the act is legal in both the source and destination locations. Nonetheless, the definition of the statute appears to encompass the entire telecommunications infrastructure.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is another piece of federal legislation addressing the legality of gambling on the internet. The statute provides a number of factors to weed out lower-level gambling cases. These factors include whether the activity occurs within the U.S., whether the business is involved in commercial activity, and the impact on interstate commerce. As with the Wire Act, there is some uncertainty as to whether these provisions will have an impact on the laws of individual states.
Several states have legalized the practice of online sports betting. In fact, twenty states allow residents to bet on sporting events online. There are also a number of states that require a certain minimum age for betting on any kind of gambling. Some states allow gambling at casinos and lotteries. Moreover, some states have different rules for betting on games of chance and for playing poker.
Several other states have legalized poker in digital form. Michigan is the fifth state to allow poker in this manner. A Michigan poker licensing board is responsible for issuing licenses to individuals interested in establishing an online poker business. Similarly, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act allows residents to bet on fantasy sports. Those bets are regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Despite these efforts, the UIGEA remains a contested law. A criminal case has been filed against several companies that are accused of running an illegal internet poker business. They have been charged with money laundering and violations of 18 U.S.C. 1955.
Another important law in this arena is the Travel Act. It is not specific to gambling on the Internet, but it does apply to players who use facilities located across interstate borders. When it comes to enforcing online gambling regulations, the conflict between the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine and the First Amendment has been a point of contention.