Online gambling is a form of playing games of chance or skill for money. It includes casino games, sports betting and virtual poker. Although some forms of online gambling are legal in some states, many others are illegal.
In the United States, unlawful Internet gambling is defined as placing bets, receiving bets or using the Internet to do any of the above. It is also illegal to use telecommunications services in connection with such activities.
There are a few different federal laws that are implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet. The Travel Act applies to Internet casinos and players who use interstate facilities for unlawful activity. Also, the Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers and may restrict or discontinue furnishing and leasing facilities.
Another statute that is implicated by online gambling is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). UIGEA is designed to prevent illegal Internet gambling by prohibiting financial transactions and regulating commercial activity. However, critics argue that the statute is not legally sound and does not have a solid basis in the law.
Another statute that has been used to challenge the enforcement of the law is the First Amendment. Free speech arguments have been weakened because the commercial nature of gambling does not involve an individual interest of the same constitutional magnitude.
As a result, states have taken different approaches to the issue of online gambling. Some of them are pursuing a more conservative approach. Others are taking more aggressive measures.