Online gambling is the action of placing bets over the Internet. Some forms of online gambling are legal in the United States, while others are illegal. It is important to understand the law of your state to determine which forms of gambling are permitted and which are not.
In the United States, the Wire Act prohibits unlawful gambling on sporting events, contests, and interstate commerce. Although this statute is not directly applicable to digital wagering, it is considered to be an important part of the laws governing online gambling.
Another federal statute, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), regulates the conduct of commercial activities. Specifically, it requires that businesses engaged in online gambling have a license to operate. Those who do not have a license could be charged with operating an illegal gambling business. Those who are charged can face up to five years in prison.
Other federal laws include the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. These statutes require that a gambling business has a gross revenue of $2,000 or more in a single day. A fine of up to $25,000 can also be imposed.
During the late 1990s, online gambling became more popular. There were fifteen gambling sites at the time. The first online poker room was launched in 1998. By the end of 1999, there were more than 200 sites. Several states offered legal sports betting. However, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was struck down by the US Supreme Court.