Online gambling is defined as placing or receiving bets via an Internet connection. It can be done legally or illegally, depending on the country where you reside. In some countries, state gambling monopolies control online gambling. However, this is not the case in the United States. Several states, including New Jersey and Nevada, are currently involved in an effort to legalize and regulate online gambling.
There are several different forms of gambling, which can range from sports betting and casino games to virtual poker and lottery tickets. The most common form of online gambling is known as casinos, which allow players to play hundreds of virtual casino games. These games are played by navigating through a web browser and usually involve HTML interfaces. Many casinos also offer the option of chat features, which allow players to communicate with other players and the dealer.
Other forms of gambling include lotteries, pool-selling, and bookmaking. These activities are also regulated by state and federal law. They are illegal in Canada, Sweden, and Belgium. Some jurisdictions have limited the legality of online gambling to only those states where gambling is already legal. This is an issue that has caused some debate within the law enforcement community.
Aside from the various laws that have been proposed and enacted to prevent online gambling, the United States has a number of federal criminal statutes that are implicated by the illegal activity. For example, the Wire Act bans illegal gambling on sporting events. Also, the Illegal Gambling Business Act makes it illegal to use a financial instrument in the making of a bet that is illegal on the Internet.
As with other kinds of online gambling, legislation is often rife with loopholes. Although the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was drafted to restrict the ability of banks and other financial institutions to deal with sites that accept illegal bets, it does not define what constitutes a legal site. Furthermore, it does not apply to websites operated by legal poker sites.
One of the more interesting aspects of the UIGEA is its application to the Internet casino industry. As a result, the act prohibits Internet operators from accepting payments from customers who engage in illegal gambling. Additionally, it allows the Federal Communications Commission to limit the leasing, maintenance, or furnishing of facilities. In 2010, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched PlayNow, a first-of-its-kind service that is available to residents of British Columbia.
Another example of the law of the internet is the Travel Act, which was enacted to protect consumers from being ripped off by fraudulent travel sites. Among other things, the Act prevents travelers from using interstate facilities for unlawful gambling activities. While the Act may not completely preclude such conduct, the presence of an interstate element in any law is a formidable barrier to enforcing it.
Lastly, there are numerous other federal statutes that are cited in a variety of other articles and reports. For example, the CRS Report RS21984 on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act includes several citations to other statutes related to gambling.