Online gambling is the ability to wager on games of chance through the Internet. There are several countries that allow online gambling, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It is also legal in most nations in the European Union.
Online gambling is considered a regulated activity and therefore each state has its own unique laws and guidelines. Gambling involves a variety of activities, including poker, baccarat, bingo, horse racing betting, online casino games, sports betting, and lottery. However, some states have limited options for online gambling. In Arizona and Louisiana, residents can only gamble on a limited selection of sites.
Legal gambling in the US is controlled by federal and state legislation. State law regulates the types of gambling available, as well as who can gamble and where they can do so. Some states have specific minimum age requirements for gambling. For example, New Jersey has an age limit for casinos and a prohibition on betting on in-state colleges.
The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act would regulate and tax internet gambling businesses. The bill also includes a provision that prohibits state lotteries from offering online gambling services. Other legislation has been introduced to protect the public from Internet gambling.
The United States Supreme Court recently overturned the federal ban on sports betting, but that ruling will not prevent states from taking action in the Internet gambling realm. A few states have already started to legalize sports betting in some form. Others may follow in the next few years.
As the Internet grows, so does the scope of the legal landscape. With the proliferation of Internet gambling, the Department of Justice has examined the regulations surrounding it. Several bills have been proposed in Congress. They are aimed at softening the federal law. Those bills include the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, or HR 2046. Another law, the Skill Game Protection Act, proposes to clarify the Wire Act and exempt certain types of games.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that the federal government does not have the authority to outlaw gambling on a state-by-state basis. This is in part due to the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine. While Congress can regulate gaming on a federal level, it is unclear how the Commerce Clause doctrine will affect state actions in the Internet arena.
The Department of Justice has investigated whether online gambling is illegal. Although most sites operate under fair gaming practices, there is some concern that advertising or aiding and abetting illegal activities could be a violation. To avoid a violation, most sites provide players with self-exclusion options.
In addition to the United States, there are three other jurisdictions that have passed some form of Internet gambling regulation. Hawaii, for example, has a large Hawaiian population. The state has a similar climate and concerns over gambling and the effects on families. Additionally, Utah has a strong Mormon population.
While many states have passed some form of gambling law, most have not been particularly active in enforcing it. Nevertheless, several bills have been introduced to Congress since 2007.