Online gambling in the United States has become a hot topic. This includes casinos, sportsbooks, and virtual poker. Many people have a plethora of opinions about the legality of online gambling. Some of these opinions may be inaccurate. There are a few things that people must consider when deciding whether online gambling is legal.
Illegal gambling is prohibited under seven federal criminal statutes. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. The Travel Act, in particular, prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce.
The Wire Act also makes it illegal to receive a bet or place a wager through an Internet service. However, the definition of illegal gambling is broader than the Wire Act. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) defines unlawful Internet gambling as placing bets, receiving bets, or using the Internet to do so.
In addition, the Illegal Gambling Business Act makes it illegal to operate an illegal gambling business. Owners of an illegal gambling business can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years. If an owner of an illegal gambling business has gross revenue of at least two thousand dollars on a single day, then the government can shut down the facility.
As of this writing, only a few states in the US have legalized online gambling. Michigan, for example, will launch its own online casino by 2021. Illinois and Indiana will likely follow suit in the next couple of years. And in Massachusetts, sports betting is expected to be legal in the near future.