Unlike traditional casinos, most of the gambling that occurs on the internet is legal, but some forms of gambling are still illegal. Some countries allow online casinos, while others have banned them altogether. The gambling market is worth over C$50 billion. The European Union has a number of countries that have legal online gambling, while the US has a few states that have banned it. In 1998, revenues from online gambling reached a record $830 million. In response to these numbers, legislators have been drafting new laws to regulate the industry.
One example is the United States Department of Justice’s announcement that the Wire Act applies to all forms of Internet gambling. Currently, a license is required to conduct gambling operations. This act is aimed at keeping money laundering and fraud at bay. It also prohibits the acceptance of financial instruments from illegal Internet bets.
The same law also provides for penalties. For example, a person who violates this statute can be fined a maximum of six months in prison, or spend six months on probation. Another law that can be applied to internet gambling is the Gambling Act. This law prohibits gambling by anyone under 18 years old. Those who violate these laws can also be charged with a felony.
The United States government has taken several steps to enforce the laws against illegal online gambling. In April 2007, Barney Frank introduced HR 2046, a bill titled the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. It would require licensing of internet gambling facilities by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Other elements of this law are yet to be decided.
A number of federal agencies have been accused of improperly enforcing the laws against illegal gambling. The FBI and the IRS have sued individuals and companies for money laundering and fraud. In addition, the Justice Department has argued that the Wire Act applies to all forms Internet gambling. This has been a contested matter, based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.
The First Amendment is the basis for many of these arguments, but it is difficult to say how well these arguments hold up in practice. For instance, state officials have expressed concern that internet gambling could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. In addition, interstate or foreign elements can frustrate state enforcement policies. Moreover, attacks based on the Commerce Clause have been met with little success.
A number of other laws have been proposed since 2007. One of the most intriguing proposals would place a tax on online gambling. This proposal has not been fully developed, but it has been described as the “first step toward a solution.” Another is the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. It would have prohibited online gambling for US citizens. However, it would also have interfered with states’ ability to repeal anti-gambling laws.
The most common arguments against the legislation are that it is overly broad and does not accomplish its intended goal. Other arguments point to the lack of a legal basis for the statute, as well as its limitations.