The Federal Government and Online Gambling
The Internet has opened up a whole new set of opportunities for Americans to wager on their favorite sporting events. As a result, more and more Americans are getting the chance to place a bet on the latest college football games and play a few hands of poker online. However, many questions about the legality of gambling remain. Specifically, how can the federal government enforce laws on this controversial subject?
Although there are federal laws to protect consumers from the dangers of Internet gambling, state laws are the primary determinants of what constitutes legal and illegal gambling. Some states have passed legislation regulating the activity, while others have left it to the federal government to take care of it. In the case of Illinois, for example, residents can only wager on sports or on in-state colleges.
However, a handful of states have taken the next step and started offering legal online casinos. This comes at a time when state officials are concerned that the Internet could be used to introduce illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
While the law is unclear, there are a number of statutes that have a bearing on this topic. These include the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Both of these act to prohibit the operation of an illegal gambling business.
One of the best known statutes in this category is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, also referred to as the UIGEA. It has a long name, but it is an important piece of federal legislation that is designed to protect consumers from gambling sites. Among other things, it imposes penalties on those who accept payments from Internet bettors.