The Federal Government’s Take on Online Gambling
Unlike real life poker, online poker does not involve a human dealer, but instead is played via random number generators. In addition to a random number generator, online poker sites also process all of the game data automatically.
Some online casinos even have a graphical representation of a real casino. Online casinos are typically designed to work with any PC or laptop running Windows, but may also be accessed via a web browser. Some sites are specialized in one form of gambling, such as online casinos, while others are more general in scope. Some online poker sites are even compatible with smartphone devices.
For the most part, state law determines the nuances of online gambling. There are several notable federal criminal statutes implicated in illegal online gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Wire O’Men Memento, the UIGEA, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Some state officials have expressed concern that online gambling could be used to facilitate illegal gambling within their jurisdictions.
The UIGEA prohibits banks and other financial institutions from accepting or transferring financial instruments in connection with illegal Internet bets. The UIGEA was first implemented in October 2007. According to the U.S. Attorney General’s office, the UIGEA “makes it illegal for any person or business to receive or deposit any money, credit card or other financial instrument in connection with the wagering of any game of chance, casino game, sports wager, or lottery.”
The CRS report RS21984: Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues and Legislation outlines the relevant federal legislation. The report contains the CRS’s take on the various aspects of the gambling industry, including the various legal challenges and the best practices for enforcing online gambling laws. It is available in an abridged form as well. The CRS report also contains the text of several statutes. The most notable of these is the aforementioned UIGEA.
The UIGEA has been a subject of several judicial decisions, most notably United States v. Grey and United States v. Mick. In both cases, the UIGEA’s most impressive feat was not actually getting someone to pay up, but rather securing a slap on the wrist.
The UIGEA has led to numerous constitutional challenges, primarily based on First Amendment issues, but the statute itself has been thoroughly analyzed in a number of other cases. The UIME is the most notable entrant into the online gambling world, but other federal statutes – particularly those applicable to the state – have also played a role.
The CRS report also mentions the aforementioned UIME, as well as the aforementioned UIME, the aforementioned UIME, the CRS Report RS21984: Internet Gambling: A Comprehensive Review, the aforementioned CRS Report RS21984: Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the aforementioned CRS Report RS21984: Gambling Industry Overview. These aforementioned reports are the most comprehensive guides to federal online gambling law. In addition to these reports, there are numerous other authoritative sources available.