Online Gambling is an activity in which people wager money or other value in return for an anticipated prize. The term gambling covers a wide variety of activities, from sporting events to games of chance and skill. Each state regulates different aspects of gambling. Today, twenty states allow residents to place wagers on sports events and poker sites online.
The legality of online gambling is debatable in the United States. Although the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 limits banks from transacting with illegal internet-based gambling sites, it does not define what constitutes illegal gambling. In the past, people assumed that the Federal Wire Act prohibited all forms of internet gambling. However, the Wire Act does not apply to online casinos, lottery sites, and poker sites.
The debate about the legality of online gambling has led to a number of legislative efforts to regulate the activity. Several bills were introduced in the House in 2007 to soften the federal laws on internet gambling. The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act would license and tax internet gambling companies. Despite the legislation, internet gambling is still considered illegal in Germany.
In recent years, the popularity of online gambling has skyrocketed. Many people saw it as an end-run around government control. Operators were able to operate online from offshore jurisdictions, allowing anyone with a web browser and a credit card to place a wager. Congress and the Department of Justice have been researching how to regulate this activity.
New Jersey is one of the first states to legalize internet gambling. This allowed online casinos to expand their market and bring massive tax revenues into the state. Other states are also considering legislation. In New Jersey, online casinos generate more than $80 million a month. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulates online gambling. The presence of poker sites like PokerStars has helped online gambling to become popular in Pennsylvania.
In the United States, gambling is legal in all but six states. The exceptions to this rule are Hawaii, Utah, and Idaho. Both states have large Mormon and Hawaiian populations, and these communities have strong religious beliefs. In addition, many states have different laws about the age at which gambling is legal. As a result, there are many different types of online gambling.
Although there are laws in most states, enforcement has been patchy. In fact, the federal government has been less aggressive than the states in enforcing Internet gambling laws. Its Commerce Clause doctrine, which holds that state laws do not apply to commerce outside of their borders, has also stifled state efforts to regulate gambling activities on Indian reservations.
In some states, a certain amount of public gambling is legal. The Federal Communications Commission regulates these businesses. The Commission can ban gambling businesses if they fail to provide adequate information.