Online gambling is the practice of playing games of chance, skill, or wagering for money. This includes sports betting, casinos, and virtual poker. Many countries restrict or prohibit online gambling, while others allow it. In the United States, some forms of online gambling are legal.
In the United States, a variety of federal criminal statutes are involved in the enforcement of online gambling laws. These include the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the Wire Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.
The Wire Act was written before the Internet, but the Department of Justice has now concluded that it applies to all forms of Internet gambling. It also prohibits gambling on contests and sports events.
The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was introduced as a bill in the US Senate in 1999. A similar bill was drafted in the House and introduced in 2007 by Rep. Barney Frank. Several bills have been drafted since then, including HR 2046, which would amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
UIGEA is a federal law that regulates commercial activities. It requires that gambling service providers have a license to advertise. They must also have a valid permit to operate. If they are found to be in violation of the law, they could face a fine and/or prison time.
While many states allow some forms of online gambling, they are illegal without a license. New Jersey has been one of the first states to offer legal sports betting.