Unlike traditional casinos, internet gambling offers more betting options, speed and convenience. These benefits are the result of advances in the technology behind internet gaming.
Using the internet to gamble is not illegal in all countries. In the United States, however, it is illegal. There are several federal laws that govern this activity. The most recent of these was passed in December 2002. The statutes include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The UIGEA requires that financial transactions for online gambling be processed only through authorized financial institutions. Payments made to a merchant account through an unlicensed internet casino or poker site may be subject to a number of penalties, including prosecution.
In addition to federal statutes, many state laws also govern this activity. Some states have passed laws prohibiting certain forms of gambling in the home, and others have outlawed online casino and lottery activities altogether.
While it is true that the federal government has a role to play in regulating Internet gambling, the scope of its involvement is limited. In fact, the United States’ ability to regulate the activities of online gambling websites has been challenged on constitutional grounds.
For example, the United States’ ability to enforce its gambling statutes has been questioned on the basis of the Commerce Clause. Various arguments have been raised, but none have produced much in the way of success.
The United States’ ability to control the activities of internet gambling sites has been further challenged by elements outside the jurisdiction, such as the United Kingdom and the European Union. A number of state officials have voiced concerns that the internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their respective jurisdictions.