Is Online Gambling Legal?

Online Gambling

During the 1990s, Internet gambling was a big deal. It appeared to be an end-run around government control. In 2002, the General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues.

The report includes several citations to state gambling laws, including the aforementioned CRS report RS22749. The report also includes text of the cited statutes. The aforementioned CRS report is available in an abridged form.

There is also a federal law that pertains to Internet gambling: the Wire Act. The Wire Act applies to wagering businesses, but is broadly interpreted to include the infrastructure associated with telecommunications.

There are also several federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal Internet gambling. One such statute is the UIGEA, which bans the acceptance of financial instruments from Internet bets.

The UIGEA was the subject of a legal case in which the Department of Justice alleged that a number of Internet poker operators had violated 18 U.S.C. 1955, which prohibits the acceptance of financial instruments from illegal Internet bets.

Another law that is relevant to the question of whether illegal Internet gambling is legal or not is the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act. The Act would regulate Internet gambling businesses and tax them. It would also allow the Federal Communications Commission to stop providing and maintaining facilities. The Act also allows for the licensing of Internet gambling businesses.

The most significant law pertaining to gambling is the law of the state. Several states have taken steps to legalize online gambling, but their regulatory efforts have not been particularly active.