Historically, the law regulating online gambling has been primarily a matter of state law. However, state officials have been concerned that Internet gambling can bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Several federal criminal statutes are implicated by Internet gambling, including the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Money Laundering Prevention Act. These laws have been contested on constitutional grounds.
The Wire Act prohibits the illegal gambling of sporting events. The Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) prohibits a variety of gambling-related activities, including the concealment of bets or wagers, the solicitation of funds, and the use of financial instruments for illegal Internet bets. Other federal statutes involved include the Interstate Commerce Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. However, these statutes are only a part of the law governing Internet gambling.
Internet gambling can be divided into two categories: sports betting and casinos. Generally, sports betting is the simplest form of online gambling, whereas casinos are more complex. In terms of online gambling, a casino game generally includes a graphical representation of a real casino game, as well as a variety of options for wagering. In addition, some online casinos feature software that allows the player to place bets, enter contests, and draft teams. The games are designed to be compatible with a variety of devices, including desktop PCs, laptops, and mobile phones. In addition, some online casinos offer “instant” games that allow the player to place bets directly from the game lobby. In addition, some online casinos offer only one type of game.
Several federal statutes are involved in online gambling, including the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Wire Act, the Money Laundering Prevention Act, and the Racketeer Influenced or Corrupt Organizations Act. These statutes have been contested on both constitutional and factual grounds.
The first online gambling venue for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. The most popular deposit method is credit card. The simplest gambling game is sports betting, which involves entering a bet on a sporting event. Other forms of online gambling include virtual poker, sports betting, and casinos. The most important fact to know about online gambling is that it is illegal under both state and federal law.
The most important piece of legislation is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which prohibits the use of financial instruments for illegal Internet bets. There are several other federal statutes implicated, such as the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Money Laundering Prevention Act (IGMLPA), the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA), and the Racketeer Influenced, Organized, and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The most important aspect of these laws is that they are enforced. This is the best way to combat the illegal gambling market.
The aforementioned CRS report RS21984 (Abridged) is a good starting point for learning about the relevant statutes. The report also includes a brief summary of the state gambling laws, as well as the text of a few of them.