Federal Laws and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Online Gambling is the act of placing bets or wagers on the outcome of a sporting event or a game of chance. It can be played at an online casino or online poker site. There are many advantages to gambling online, from convenience to security. But if you are using an online service to place your bets, you could be in violation of federal laws.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) prohibits using an Internet service to make an illegal bet. Some services that do not qualify include financial transaction providers and telecommunications services.

The UIGEA has drawn constitutional objections from opponents, with many questioning whether the Act can be enforced in an environment dominated by the Commerce Clause. Some have argued that due process arguments are weakened when the financial transactions involved are in the United States. However, these attacks have had little effect.

The first legal online gambling venue for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. The law was a significant accomplishment, but the first gambling law to be fully codified in federal law is the Travel Act.

Another important piece of legislation is the Lopez Amendment. It is an anti-money laundering statute that regulates commercial activity in the gambling industry. The law has received Congressional scrutiny and includes elements to identify low-level gambling cases.

The CRS Report RS21984 is an abridged version of a larger document, which includes citations to federal and state gambling laws. The document also contains text of cited statutes.

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