Regulating Online Gambling in the United States
Gambling involves a wide variety of activities. It includes wagering on sporting events, pool-selling, bookmaking, and gambling on the chance of a prize. While some of these activities are legal, others are illegal and in the U.S. gambling is regulated both at the state and federal level. Some states even limit the age at which children may participate in these activities.
There are various forms of online gambling. These include sports betting, casinos, virtual poker, and fantasy sports. Most states allow people to place bets on these types of games. New Jersey became the first state to legalize online casino gaming in 2013, and there are also several other states that have opted to permit online poker. However, each state has its own set of laws, regulations, and statutes.
Online gambling has become an increasingly popular activity. As a result, state and federal officials have expressed concerns that the Internet might be used to bring illegal gambling to their jurisdictions. The issue has prompted a variety of bills to regulate the online gambling industry. One bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, would license and tax internet gambling businesses, but it would not prevent them from accepting bets from residents of the United States.
A more comprehensive version of the law, the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), is often abbreviated OGRA. This law outlines what constitutes illegal Internet gambling, and prohibits individuals from using financial instruments to make illegal bets. Additionally, the statute outlines certain standards for data security. In addition, there is a provision in OGRA that allows for wagering on fantasy sports.
The Department of Justice has taken a tough stance on gambling on the Internet. Despite this, there are no laws on the books that prevent online gambling operators from setting up shop in offshore jurisdictions. For example, Nevada does not regulate online casinos, but residents are free to play in land-based establishments. Another state, Illinois, asked the DOJ for an opinion on the legality of digital sales of lottery tickets.
While state law has generally been able to regulate the conduct of Internet gambling, some state legislators are concerned that the nexus between the Web and state jurisdictions could lead to a slippery slope. Indeed, in recent years, gambling activity has exploded in Native American territories. Moreover, several states have opted to decriminalize online gambling in an effort to address this issue.
Other efforts have focused on the UIGEA, which is designed to regulate commercial activity. In addition, there is a more comprehensive federal law, the Travel Act, that prohibits players from using interstate facilities for unlawful activities. However, these efforts have had little effect.
One law that has been considered on the legal front is the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which positioned Michigan as a serious player in mobile sports betting. Also, a new state law, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, will provide for interactive wagering on games and sports, including horse racing and basketball.