Unregulated online gambling may be fun, but it also has the potential to lead to financial ruin. With the ability to play your favorite casino games from the comfort of your own home, it’s no wonder more and more Americans are making their wagers on sports and games of chance.
However, while a lot has been written about the legality of online gambling, the industry is still largely regulated by state laws. Some states are preparing to legalize Internet gambling in the near future, and more are likely to follow.
Among the most notable laws that pertain to online gambling are the Johnson Act and the Gambling Devices Transportation Act. Both of these laws provide criminal penalties for the use of a device to conduct illegal Internet bets.
For instance, the law prohibits the use of credit cards to make illegal bets. Another law makes it a crime to accept financial instruments from an Internet gambler. Some banks may refuse to process online gambling transactions in certain countries.
Several courts have weighed in on the matter, notably the United States v. Nicolaou and the United States v. K23 Group Financial Services. In the former, the defendants were found guilty of a number of UIGEA violations, while the latter is a federal criminal case.
In the context of the Internet, the aforementioned is probably the best way to explain the legality of a particular site or service. While not all of the laws are as clearly enacted as some would have you believe, the general idea is that the Federal Communications Commission, which is in charge of regulating common carriers like cable and satellite TV companies, can prohibit or stop furnishing or maintaining a particular facility.