Online Gambling Legislation

Online Gambling

Online Gambling is a form of betting and playing games of chance for money online. There are several forms of online gambling, including casinos, sports betting, virtual poker, and slots. The primary aim of gambling is to win prizes.

Internet gambling was popular in the 1990s. In that time, approximately fifteen online gambling websites were operating. By 1998, revenues from online gambling had surpassed $830 million. However, the industry was largely unregulated. This led to state officials’ concerns that Internet gambling could bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.

After a series of legislative proposals, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. It is a law that makes it a crime to use the Internet for “illegal internet gambling.” UIGEA defines unlawful internet gambling as receiving or transmitting bets, or facilitating bets that are not legal.

UIGEA has been challenged on constitutional grounds. Among other arguments, it was argued that the federal government does not have the power to enforce gambling laws outside of its borders. Other issues have raised concerns about the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment.

Federal gambling legislation was first drafted in the late 1990s. Although the bill never went into effect, its provisions have been reinforced in cases.

In April 2007, Rep. Barney Frank introduced a bill called HR 2046. It would require licensing of Internet gambling facilities by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The House has also considered other similar bills. Several of them have been introduced since 2007.