Whether online gambling is legal or illegal is a matter of debate. The question is whether there is a federal statute that covers online gambling or whether there are State law implications.
Federal criminal statutes implicated
Using the internet to place bets on sporting events and contests is not only illegal in most jurisdictions, it is also a federal crime. Using the internet to stoop to the level of wagering on the outcome of a sporting event or contest is illegal under the federal Wire Act. If you are charged with any type of gambling offense, be sure to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney. If you are found guilty of a crime, you could face up to five years in prison. The only way to avoid the wrath of the law is to hire an experienced lawyer who is familiar with federal law. A good lawyer is worth their weight in gold. Fortunately, the Internet is full of useful information. In fact, if you are willing to scour the Web, you may discover that some of the most interesting and intriguing information is actually hosted by a large number of free sites.
Constitutional objections to prosecuting illegal online gambling
Several states have legalized and regulated online gambling, and a handful of savvy operators have set up shop in offshore jurisdictions. But how does the federal government go about regulating this activity?
In the past, Congress has exercised its powers of persuasion to thwart state legislation aimed at regulating gambling on American Indian reservations within state borders. For instance, the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act has largely thwarted state attempts to control gambling on Indian land. In the meantime, state legislatures have been forced to devise more creative solutions to the problem. In particular, the state of Maryland is attempting to squelch an Internet gambling behemoth known as the Betfair casino by imposing stiff criminal penalties on its operators.
Nevertheless, the federal government has largely relegated the regulation of Internet gambling to the dusty recesses of its executive branch. The federal government has enacted a handful of laws aimed at regulating the nefarious activities of its gambling-loving citizens. The federal Wire Act, for instance, carries stiff penalties of up to five years for the act of transferring funds to or from a gambling site without the recipient’s permission.
State law implications
Across the country, states have differing laws about online gambling. Some have no prohibition at all, while others have strict laws against unauthorized gambling. Several states have legalized online gambling, including casinos and poker. However, the Federal government does not regulate online gambling.
The federal government does not prohibit gambling, but it does criminalise those who provide or promote gambling. The government also supplements state laws by imposing enhanced penalties on those who commit gambling crimes. For example, a person who is found to have made sports wagers on the internet is subject to enhanced penalties under the Wire Act. If that person does not make any wagers, he may be convicted of the crime for up to five years.
States have constitutional authority to define the contours of legal gambling. The legislature has the power to limit gambling to adults, or to require more fulsome disclosure of related factors, such as odds. In addition, states have the power to license legal gambling operators. In some states, online gambling has generated significant tax revenue. However, some states have seen a decline in overall revenue due to increased competition.