The legality of online gambling in the US is a topic of debate. Most states allow some form of online gambling, but others prohibit it completely. In addition, there are a variety of national laws that regulate gambling on the Internet.
Online gambling includes sports betting, virtual poker, and casinos. Several nations in the Caribbean Sea and the European Union have approved online gambling, while the United States has yet to follow suit. Some provinces of Canada have also approved online gambling.
However, the federal government’s ability to police and regulate online gambling has been challenged on constitutional grounds. Questions have been raised about the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment. These arguments have been met with little success.
During the 1990s, online gambling began to gain popularity. The first poker rooms were introduced in 1998. Eventually, a few hundred online gambling sites appeared. A Frost & Sullivan report suggested that online gambling revenues exceeded $830 million in 1998.
The first criminal case related to online gambling was a money laundering case against the founders of three of the largest online poker companies. They were charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Since then, several other similar cases have been tried. Some have been ruled in favor of the United States, while others have been deemed unconstitutional.
In 2007, the House introduced a bill that would amend UIGEA. This bill, HR 2046, would require licensing of internet gambling facilities. It would also mandate that the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network oversee the licensing process.