Various states have attempted to regulate online gambling. This may be due to fears of introducing illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Other reasons include the possibility of foreign elements thwarting state enforcement policies.
In the United States, the gambling industry is largely composed of sports betting, casino games, and virtual poker. While federal law has been enacted to regulate these activities, it has remained unclear how to enforce it.
The United States Department of Justice has asserted that all forms of Internet gambling are illegal. It has also issued warnings to PayPal that it could face criminal prosecution. There have been several bills introduced in the House of Representatives to address these issues.
There are a number of federal criminal statutes implicated by these activities. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Wire Act, and the Gambling Act. These laws, along with other laws, have been challenged on constitutional grounds. However, these attacks have proven to be largely fruitless.
Another legal issue is whether the Wire Act reaches into the Internet. A federal law, the Wire Act prohibits a gambling operator from accepting financial instruments from someone who has made an illegal Internet bet. While a gambling operator can be fined and imprisoned for violating this statute, the definition of the statute appears to cover the entire telecommunications infrastructure.
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act would license Internet gambling businesses and impose taxes on them. The statute would also require them to abide by certain data security standards and to verify that users are of legal age. This type of legislation would be an improvement over current online gambling laws. However, it would not prohibit internet gambling businesses from taking bets from the United States.