Using the Internet for gambling is illegal, under the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). The Act carries penalties for illegal gambling on sports, contests and games, and if one is found to be involved, one could face prison. The Wire Act also prohibits gambling on sports. Other federal criminal statutes, such as the Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Travel Act, also apply.
One of the most common forms of internet gambling is poker. There are a number of styles to choose from, including Texas Hold ’em, Omaha Hi, and Stud Poker. In a poker game, the money that is won is real money, unlike in a traditional casino, where money is merely chips. The money that is won is used to play the game and to participate in tournaments or contests. The games also usually include a variety of sign-up promotions.
Other forms of gambling on the Internet include casino games, sports betting and lotteries. These activities are often legal in various states, but the laws vary from state to state. For example, New York State allows casinos to conduct lotteries, but not online gambling. However, online casinos may legally conduct casino games if they are based in another state, if they are approved by the state. This may create a problem for state officials, who have expressed concerns that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
Other online gambling activities include casinos, poker, and virtual poker. These online games are often referred to as “remote gaming,” since they are not actually performed in a location within the United States. Most gaming sites have tools to help players remain responsible, including self-exclusion programs.
Several states also permit online fantasy sports betting. This is similar to traditional fantasy sports. People place bets on who they believe will win a particular game or tournament. When the predictions are correct, the player wins the money. Several state laws, such as those in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, have passed legislation regulating sports betting on the Internet.
The US Department of Justice has also made a number of determinations about the legality of online gambling. In December 2002, the government released an abridged version of a report on the topic, Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues. The report contains an overview of the various federal and state laws governing the industry. It is interesting to note that some states permit only in person gambling, while others allow both online and offline gambling.
The US Department of Justice also determined that fantasy sports betting is legal. This was in part because it is a type of online gambling that does not involve an individual’s interest. However, this type of gambling may not be protected by the First Amendment.
The US Department of Justice also prosecuted an internet poker site for UIGEA violations. The case is currently on appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.