Is Online Gambling Legal?
The internet has given rise to a number of novel forms of gambling, including online casinos, sports betting, virtual poker and slots. Although the advent of the Internet has certainly brought new risks, the technology has also facilitated a new, more convenient way to place bets. Some forms of gambling are already legal in Ohio. Nevertheless, the potential for further developments in this area is looming.
The Internet has created a number of new opportunities for gambling, but a number of questions have been raised as to whether it is lawful. As the laws that govern gambling within the United States vary from state to state, it is uncertain how federal legislation will affect states’ ability to regulate these activities. In addition, the commercial nature of many gambling enterprises seems to be sufficient to withstand constitutional scrutiny.
The Department of Justice has undertaken a series of investigations into the legality of online gambling. A report entitled “Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues” was published by the agency in December 2002. This report is available for review and contains the text of several cited statutes.
For instance, the Travel Act, the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act all have an effect on the practice of wagering on the Internet. These acts were intended to control interstate and foreign commerce and prohibit illegal gambling on sporting events. While each of these statutes imposes some hefty fines and imprisonment on its operators, there are a number of exceptions to the rule. Most notably, the Wire Act is exempted if the act in question is legal both in its origin and destination.
In the context of online gambling, the most effective means of avoiding prosecution is by establishing a business in a jurisdiction outside the United States. There are a number of offshore jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. However, some of the more lucrative types of Internet-based gambling could be conducted from locations in the United States.
In particular, the CRS Report RS21984 outlines several statutes that are considered to be relevant to online gambling. One of the more interesting citations is the CRS Report RS22749, which discusses the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Another notable citation is the CRS Report RS21984’s abridged version of the same report.
Other worthy citations are the CRS Report RS22749, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, and the CRS Report RS21984’s summary of the most interesting of all citations, the RS21984’s “State and Local Gaming Laws: A Review.”
However, the most impressive citations have been found to be the state and local laws that regulate gambling within the United States. Several states have laws requiring minimum ages for gambling. Others have varying age restrictions for different types of gambling.
In the most general sense, online gambling has become increasingly popular over the past several years. Many people can now place bets on sports, virtual poker and even blackjack tournaments from the comfort of their home.