Online gambling is a booming industry. According to a report by CRS Research and Analysis Group, the total revenue earned by online casinos and poker sites exceeded $3.2 billion in 2008. In addition, online gaming platforms contribute to tax revenues and create jobs.
For the most part, gambling is legal in the United States. The law on the matter is largely governed by state law. Some states allow in-person betting and casinos, while others regulate online gambling.
While the US federal government has not issued any formal guidelines on the subject, several jurisdictions have acted on their own. Some state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
A variety of laws have been proposed in recent years. One is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This law prohibits accepting financial instruments from an illegal Internet bet.
Another is the Travel Act. This law applies to Internet casinos and players who use interstate facilities for unlawful activities.
The most important legal issue is whether the government has the power to regulate gambling. There are several constitutional concerns raised with the issue. Among them are the Commerce Clause and First Amendment free speech objections.
Other statutory considerations include age verification, appropriate data security standards and location verification. These regulations, while not specifically enacted as gambling laws, are considered a necessary step toward protecting consumers from fraudulent activities.
Several legal cases have been filed in the US. For example, a number of federal marshals have seized money from online gambling operators.