The debate over online gambling and its legality has heated up as more and more Americans are gambling on sports and poker games. While the federal government has been somewhat lax in its enforcement of state-level gambling laws, state officials have voiced their concern over the Internet’s potential to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. In response, Congress has explored the feasibility of regulating the industry and licensing internet gambling operators.
There have been some legislative efforts in the House of Representatives to soften the federal Internet gambling law. One bill would clarify the definition of the so-called Wire Act. Another bill, the Skill Game Protection Act, aims to exempt certain games from the Act. Still, other bills, such as the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, aim to regulate the industry while taxing internet-based gaming businesses.
Several states have passed legislation aimed at legalizing Internet gambling, including Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. However, the United States is still a long way off from implementing a national system of legalized online gambling. It is possible, however, that online gambling could be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.
Another potential avenue for the regulation of Internet gambling is the federal Travel Act. This act covers gambling activities in the United States and abroad, as well as wagering and telecommunications. It also applies to Internet casinos. On the other hand, some have suggested that the Travel Act may have been outlawed in some parts of the country, particularly in light of the recent Supreme Court decision preventing the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing the Clean Air Act.
Another piece of legislation is the UIGEA, or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The bill was introduced by a group of congressional Democrats, and is the first legislation addressing Internet gambling in the federal government. Its main aim is to weed out low-level gambling cases, though its impact on interstate commerce remains unclear.
The Department of Justice has also explored online gambling regulations. They have produced numerous studies and a report on the subject. These studies have provided a general overview of the issues surrounding Internet gambling. Some of the most common problems faced by online gambling operators involve money laundering, identity theft, security concerns, and privacy.
The first legal online gambling venue for the general public opened in Liechtenstein, where people can place wagers on sporting events. As with other types of gambling, the law is state-based, and some states have varying minimum ages for different forms of gambling.
The UIGEA is an important first step toward implementing a national law, but it will not prevent the operation of illegal Internet gambling operations. Additionally, the federal government has warned that PayPal, the most popular payment processor, may be subject to criminal prosecution if they take part in transactions involved with illegal Internet bets.
While the federal government has been slow to act on internet gambling laws, it has weighed in on some of the more popular aspects. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission may discontinue furnishing or leasing facilities used by online gambling operators.