The Law and Online Gambling
Online gambling, or e-gambling, refers to the placing of bets on websites or via a mobile app. Various sites offer sports betting and casinos, among others. Several states have laws on the books that regulate the activity, but the federal government has the power to enforce those statutes.
In recent years, state officials have voiced concern that the internet may be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This has led to a plethora of lawsuits from law enforcement agencies attempting to thwart a host of online casinos and sportsbooks. Some have been successful, while others have been unsuccessful. The legal landscape for gambling has also changed, with some states adopting the Public Gambling Act of 1867, while other states have developed their own.
Online casinos are no exception, as hundreds of gaming vendors provide a wide selection of games for the gaming enthusiast. These gaming sites typically offer traditional titles such as roulette and blackjack, as well as live dealer casino games. They also offer slots, which are available for play on desktop and mobile devices.
Online gambling has gained in popularity as technology has improved. In addition, the competition between games has become more intense, as game makers have sought to keep up. Technology has also provided gamblers with better odds and faster payouts.
As far as the law goes, the first state to incorporate provisions pertaining to online gambling was Sikkim. The Free Trade and Processing Act allowed licensing of online gambling companies. A number of smaller software developers have utilized the Microgaming Quickfire platform to launch their games.
It is unclear how federal authorities have weighed the merits of regulating or policing e-gambling. Some have argued that it is a waste of resources, and others have expressed concerns about the commercial nature of the business. Others have questioned the powers of the Commerce Clause. However, the best arguments have been met with little success, as the most important laws pertaining to the activity are enacted by the states themselves.
One of the most interesting developments in the industry has been Yggdrasil Gaming. Yggdrasil is a relatively new player in the online gaming arena, but they have carved out a niche for themselves. With an increasing number of customers, the company has managed to become a powerhouse in the gaming industry.
A brief discussion of the Travel Act, which applies to Internet casinos, can be found in Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal. While the article does not discuss Rewis, it does discuss the other major citations in the CRS Report RS21984: The Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues.
Another aforementioned CRS report is RS41614: Remote Gaming: A Survey. Among other things, this CRS report cites the various states’ laws relating to remote gaming. Of particular note is Section 1956, which creates several new crimes, including laundering to disguise the source of funds, laundering for international purposes, and laundering the “odds-moment-motickel.”
Among the more interesting citations in the CRS report is the fact that the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to cease furnishing facilities to gambling companies or even discontinue the leasing of such facilities.