Online gambling, as the name implies, involves playing a game of chance using the Internet. Several types of online gambling are commonly available: sports betting, casinos, and virtual poker. These games follow the same basic rules and use similar technology to “real life” games. The main difference is that the player doesn’t have to deal the cards in real life.
Nevertheless, there are some legal concerns about using the Internet to conduct unlawful gambling. This issue is largely a matter of state law. Nonetheless, there are a few federal statutes that are also implicated by illegal online gambling. Some of the statutes that may be cited include the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Wire Act, and the Travel Act.
Aside from the federal statutes that are cited, there are also state-specific laws. State laws typically criminalize certain forms of gambling. In New York, for example, the act of transmitting information from New York via the internet constitutes gambling activity. However, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could be used to facilitate illegal gambling in their jurisdictions.
Although state law is the primary concern for legal practitioners and regulators, there are still some constitutional issues to be considered. For instance, the Commerce Clause raises questions about the legislative power of the federal government. Additionally, due process arguments, such as the free speech guarantee, are at stake when financial transactions are involved.
Federal law, on the other hand, reinforces state law in some cases. For instance, in 2010, the U.S. Marshals seized $3.2 million from Discovery Communications for advertising that was associated with a Costa Rican casino operation. Furthermore, the UIGEA, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, comes with Congressional findings regarding its impact on interstate commerce.
One of the most significant challenges to the UIGEA is the potential for violation of the First Amendment. Specifically, the Commerce Clause raises concerns about the ability of the federal government to enact laws regulating commerce without providing due process. Unfortunately, these attacks have not yielded much success.
Section 1956 of the Federal Code defines the crimes of laundering, receiving bets, and concealing the existence of an illegal activity. Laundering is a crime of intent to evade taxes, disguise one’s identity, or promote an illicit activity. There are several specialized crimes that are triggered by laundering, including those for law enforcement stings and for international purposes.
The most popular deposit methods are credit and debit cards. In addition, some sites allow for other forms of payment. However, most gambling sites require at least three things to be in order to be able to use real money.
Most casinos have the option of either downloading their software client or accessing their website through a web browser. Both options are compatible with laptops and PCs running Windows. If a player decides to download the software, he or she can then choose between different “instant” games. Once logged into the site, the player can choose from various wagers and a list of upcoming events for each of the games.