Online Gambling Laws
Several countries have imposed restrictions on online gambling. In the United States, some forms of online gambling are legal, while others are illegal. Online gambling includes casinos, sports betting, and virtual poker. Some provinces in Canada have laws that allow for online gambling. Online gambling is also legal in some Caribbean nations. The French government proposed new laws that would regulate and tax internet gambling.
The Gambling Act requires gambling companies to have a license in order to operate. There are also penalties for those who break gambling rules. For example, those who are found to have facilitated gambling are guilty of a maximum of six months in prison. Additionally, any financial instrument that is accepted from an illegal Internet bet is also prohibited. The law applies to platforms that use cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, as well.
The Gambling Act has been enforced on a federal level, but some questions have been raised regarding the legislative power of the United States under the Commerce Clause. For example, there are many questions regarding the constitutionality of the Due Process Clause, especially when financial transactions are involved. There are also questions regarding the protection of free speech. In some cases, the commercial nature of the gambling business has seemed to satisfy the doubts raised by the Commerce Clause.
A recent case involved the founders of three of the largest online poker companies. They were charged with violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and other federal criminal statutes. They were also accused of bank fraud, money laundering, and operating a virtual casino. The owner of the Seals with Clubs gambling site was also convicted of running an illegal gambling operation. He was convicted and sentenced to two years probation and was fined $25,000 by the court.
In addition, the Travel Act prohibits gambling on interstate commerce. The Federal Communications Commission also has authority over common carriers. In addition, the Federal Information Technology Rules address online gambling. For example, the Federal Communications Commission has the power to stop providing facilities or discontinue the leasing of such facilities. However, some state officials have expressed concern that the Internet can be used to facilitate illegal gambling in their jurisdictions.
As a result, several similar bills have been introduced in the House since 2007. The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2046) was introduced by Congressman Barney Frank in 2007. This bill would require internet gambling facilities to be licensed by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. This bill also would amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Wire Act. In addition, it would regulate and tax internet gambling, prohibit foreign governments from establishing Internet gambling businesses, and ban betting exchanges.
In addition to the Wire Act, there are also seven federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal Internet gambling. These include the Interstate Wire Transfer Act, the Federal Wire Act, the Wire Act for Sporting Events, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Federal Wire Act for Financial Transactions, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Accountability Act, and the Wire Act for Criminal Contests.