Online gambling, also referred to as e-gambling, is defined as placing and receiving bets on casino games, sports betting, lottery and virtual poker over the Internet. However, it should be noted that this term encompasses a wide range of activities and carries a substantial risk of criminal activity. In order to protect users from harm, the United States government has created a complex regulatory process for online gambling.
The most common types of online gambling include casinos, sports betting, lottery, and virtual poker. Although these games have become more popular in recent years, there are still legal concerns regarding their safety and integrity.
Several federal laws are implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet. These statutes include the Gambling Control Act (GCA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (IGMA), and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). While the specific details of these laws vary from state to state, they generally cover similar issues such as minimum age requirements, location verification, and appropriate data security standards.
In addition to the federal law, many states have their own rules for legal gambling, despite the fact that some, such as Indiana, have outlawed such activities in order to prevent residents from using the Internet for illegal gambling. Regardless of the law, some people find that they can avoid penalties and punishment by gambling online instead of in physical locations.
In December 2002, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues. Its most prominent findings include that 80% of global Internet users are mobile. Further, the average use of smartphones has significantly increased in recent years. As a result, mobile users are responsible for the largest proportion of online gambling activity in most countries.
For the past two decades, the United States government has seized a number of large amounts of money from companies and individuals that participate in Internet gambling. Some of the biggest targets include Discovery Communications, PayPal, and Sporting News. Additionally, the FCC, whose mission is to regulate the communications industry, has taken steps to dismantle facilities that facilitate these operations. This is an area of concern for several state officials who fear the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of online gambling is the fact that people can place bets in the comfort of their own home. Another reason is the availability of software and services that make it easy to play a variety of games from the comfort of their home. There are even apps for smartphones that enhance the gaming experience.
Other legal issues related to gambling involve the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment. Various attacks have been made on these constitutional grounds, but they have been largely unsuccessful. Generally, these arguments are not effective because of the commercial nature of the gambling business, albeit the best example is the Liechtenstein International Lottery, the first online gambling venue in the world to welcome the general public.