The Legal and Illegal Implications of Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Online gambling, also known as e-gambling, involves the betting of money on a game of chance. This includes sports betting and virtual poker. It is legal in a few countries, but is illegal in many others.

In the United States, there are seven federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal internet gambling. These statutes are the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the Federal False Claims Act, the Money Laundering Control Act, and the Unlawful Foreign Gambling Enforcement Act (UFGEA).

The Travel Act applies to players who use facilities across state lines for illegal activities. Because of the interstate element, it frustrates enforcement policies of state law.

Although the Commerce Clause is the basis for the law, due process arguments have not had much success. While federal statutes reinforce state law in certain cases, the commercial nature of the gambling business seems to satisfy the objections of free speech.

The first online gambling venue for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. Since then, numerous sites have been developed for sports betting and virtual poker.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission was established in 2010. The commission amended the Online Gambling Regulation Act, 2001.

Sporting News, a sports publication, agreed to pay a $4.2 million fine and launch a $3 million public service campaign in response to an allegation that it violated state gambling laws. Discovery Communications, an advertising firm, accepted ads from Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rican casino operation.