Online Gambling Laws in the United States
In recent years, the online gambling industry has become a hot topic. As the Internet continues to grow, more and more Americans are taking part in their favorite casino games, including poker, bingo and sports betting. However, some have questions regarding the laws that govern online gambling. Fortunately, there are several legal avenues for players. Some states have adopted online gambling regulations, while others have been waiting for the opportunity. There are also federal statutes that address the issue of illegal Internet gambling.
The federal Wire Act prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events and contests. Similarly, the Travel Act applies to players who use interstate facilities for unlawful activities. Additionally, there are Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions that criminalize illegal gambling business activity.
These laws can be used as a basis to prosecute individuals who engage in illegal Internet gambling. Nevertheless, the presence of an interstate element can frustrate enforcement policies of state law. For example, an Internet-based gambling site could be established in an offshore jurisdiction. Therefore, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet can be used to bring illegal gambling into their states.
While the federal government has the power to enforce these laws, there are concerns that it may conflict with dormant Commerce Clause doctrines. State legislatures are reluctant to adopt and enforce laws pertaining to Internet-based gambling. This has caused the Federal Communications Commission to consider stopping the maintenance, leasing and furnishing of facilities.
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act would regulate and tax internet gambling businesses. It would also license the operators. Currently, there are more than two dozen legal Colorado online casinos that offer sports betting. However, there are no commercial casinos in the state.
Illinois has no online casinos, but there are several gambling establishments near its borders. These establishments include slot machines, dice tables, and pool-selling. However, Illinois residents cannot participate in the activities of these establishments unless they are ages 21 or older.
Ohio has enacted legislation allowing online gambling, and the state’s governor will sign it into law in early 2019. Massachusetts has plans to allow sports betting in 2023. Connecticut has not launched its own online casinos, but it is expected to do so in late 2021.
Online gambling has gained popularity in the United States, but there are still many questions surrounding it. While the law is a bit unclear, it is hoped that the debate will continue in the coming years. Several bills have been introduced in Congress to soften the federal laws, and lawmakers have shown interest in regulating the online gambling industry. A new bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, will be introduced next year.
The Department of Justice has been exploring the rules and regulations that govern Internet gambling. However, it is unlikely that these new laws will prevent operators from using the Internet to illegally take bets from the U.S. Additionally, the DoJ maintains that all internet gambling is illegal.