The State of the Law and Online Gambling
Despite all the hype and the marketing, online gambling is a reality, and there are many players that enjoy playing in the virtual casino. The Internet has made it possible for people to place bets on a wide variety of games, including sports betting, casino games, and virtual poker.
Legality in the United States
Until the late 1990s, online gambling was illegal in the United States. However, after the advent of the Internet, most states allowed people to gamble on the Internet. The federal government was not especially active in enforcing these laws, and it appeared that gambling sites would go offshore. However, in the last few years, the United States has enacted several laws that have opened the door for legal online gaming.
Several of the federal laws have provisions that allow states to regulate online gambling. The laws are in place so that reputable bodies will govern gambling platforms. Most gambling sites promote fair gaming, and allow players to set loss limits. However, the morality of gambling remains a big issue.
Many lawmakers are concerned about the ease of access to real money online casino games. They want to ensure that gaming operators are held accountable for misconduct. They also want to ensure that players are not able to gamble online without state permission.
Illegality in other countries
Throughout the world, there are a variety of countries that ban or restrict online gambling. The reasons for these prohibitions vary from country to country. However, most of these countries have a morality component to their laws. In some cases, people can be prosecuted for gambling. The penalties vary from country to country, and can include a prison sentence.
The laws in countries with strict gambling laws may be complicated. Some countries only permit certain types of gambling, while others ban gambling completely. Some countries only permit local operators to run gambling sites, while others allow foreign operators.
In some countries, gambling is a crime, and people can face up to four years in prison if they are caught gambling. Other countries don’t enforce these laws, and turn a blind eye to gambling.
The law in the United Arab Emirates is stricter than those in other countries, and all forms of gambling are illegal. People who are caught gambling face penalties including a two-year prison sentence.
Common criminal statutes implicated
Several federal criminal statutes are associated with illegal Internet gambling, most notably the Wire Act and the more recent Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. These statutes are a hoot to study because they are the ones responsible for some of the best known gambling related felonies in the country. Considering the number of illegal gambling sites on the Internet today, it’s no wonder that some of the best known gamblers have found their way to federal prisons. This begs the question: what is the state of the law and why? It’s a matter of public policy and law enforcement vs. public good. The best way to find out is to conduct your own due diligence, and the best places to look are state and federal courts, where the law is made and enforcement is rewarded. In other words, you’ll want to steer clear of the lawless gambling dens in your own backyard.
Cases against operators of online gambling sites
Throughout the past two decades, prosecutors have successfully pursued cases against offshore operators. These cases have resulted in convictions and financial penalties.
In one case, a casino in Antigua was found guilty of money laundering in connection with a Panama-based sportsbook. The casino’s owner, Jay Cohen, was sentenced to two years in jail. This was a clear example of how online gambling sites are a target for criminals. In another case, an Internet financial services company aided an illegal offshore gambling agreement. The company paid $10 million in civil agreement.
The Department of Justice has warned media outlets that it will not accept advertising from operators that are operating illegally. It has also settled cases with online businesses that accepted money from consumers to market virtual gambling operations. In 2009, Google, Microsoft, and Sporting News agreed to settle with the Department of Justice for $31.5 million, $7 million, and $7.2 million, respectively.
The United States has a complex patchwork of state and federal regulators. This can make policing online gambling complicated. The Department of Justice has seized assets in online gaming cases, and has urged media outlets not to accept advertising from operators that are operating illegally.