Federal Online Gambling Law
Unfortunately, it also restricted access to bets by wire for all Americans, regardless of their criminal intent. In , it was impossible to imagine the possibility of wagering over an Internet connection. Until recently, lawmakers have been confused over how to apply the Interstate Wire Act to online gambling.
When the US Department of Justice clarified the Interstate Wire Act in , the legal status of certain types of betting became crystal clear.
Take note that the Interstate Wire Act has not been used to prosecute any individuals for placing bets by wire. The FBI has stated numerous times including here on their own website that their focus is on prosecuting the large-scale operations.
The worst the FBI can do is warn you that funds in your player account may be seized if the site you bet with gets busted. Before , you could safely assume that the Wire Act could be used to prosecute online gamblers. Some of its lack of authority stems from the fact that it was largely an unnecessary law.
The Wire Act does a grand job of outlawing sports gambling. Bradley had been a pro basketball player and was concerned about the influence of gambling on sports. The full title of this bill is as follows. It was an attempt to have sports betting declared specifically illegal, across the country, regardless of the method used. The intent was to create a law that goes a step further than the vague language in the Interstate Wire Act.
The Bradley Act was considered necessary because of panic in the legislative branch over reports of game fixing in pro and college sports. About the problem of sports gambling in America, one lawmaker famously said: Essentially, it was much ado about nothing.
No new wave of organized crime involvement in sports betting was afoot, and there were no signs of an increase in problem sports gambling or cheating scandals traced back to sports betting interests. This language goes so far as to outlaw bets on fantasy sports, the results of which are tied directly to the individual performances of athletes.
The Bradley Act was ultimately too limited in its scope by the existence of a few state sports betting markets. Specifically, existing sports betting markets in Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Nevada were outside the scope of the law. An exception was made allowing the state of New Jersey to pass a law making sports wagers legal within one year.
The state government of New Jersey failed to do so, and lost the right to offer legal bets on sports. PASPA has its fair share of detractors. Proponents of the bill say that Congress had every right to pass this law under the Commerce Clause. The UIGEA has had a bigger impact on the actual practice of online gambling than any of the other pieces of legislation on this list.
It was designed to shut down access to online gambling by making it illegal for banks and other financial groups to process gambling payments. The act excludes a few markets explicitly — certain fantasy sports bets are excluded, as are a number of skill games and any existing legal intrastate and inter-tribal gaming markets. For starters, it contains loopholes large enough to drive a bus through. Some big names in the online betting business mostly poker and casino sites pulled out of the US market, and some bettors lost access to their favorite Web-based casino or poker site.
But plenty of Americans are still processing payments back and forth with a known gambling provider. While some have interpreted this to mean that these activities are essentially unregulated, the UIGEA defers to the Wire Act and other existing federal law in these matters. Take note, again, that the UIGEA is not something that individual sports bettors need to worry about.
It is used to prevent banks and credit card companies from doing business with providers of illegal gambling — not to prosecute individuals who use those payment processors. The three laws above interact in some strange ways. At this point, the federal government is only investigating DraftKings, but the assumption is that all DFS activity is under investigation.
This information could be used to influence the outcome of a contest. The implication is that the player used his insider information to influence the outcome in his favor. So now the federal government is probing the overall legality of daily fantasy sports. In DFS, customers pay entry fees to participate in fantasy contests based on virtual drafts. Customers compete for prize money based on their ability to put together a lineup that posts the best real-world performances.
The investigation will likely hinge on the question of whether or not DFS is a game of skill. The hardest set of gaming laws to navigate in America is state law. For starters, you have to consider the law books of 50 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia. You also have to consider that some states defer to county or even municipal laws when it comes to gaming regulations.
The first modern state gaming laws appeared immediately after World War II. Conservative politics were all the rage, and some states moved to outlaw gaming in light of casino development in Nevada. In fact, outside of Nevada, only Maryland offered any form of regulated gambling in the middle 20thcentury, legalizing slot machines in certain southern counties as early as The next major reforms to state gaming regulations occurred in the s, as a budget crisis hit every state in the union.
Since that time, state law related to gambling has continued to evolve. Some US states have gone so far as to outlaw online gambling outright. The states of New Jersey and Nevada, for example, have declared that all non-state regulated online gambling is illegal.
The other anti-online gaming states outlaw Internet betting in all forms. The states of Washington and Maryland represent a disturbing recent trend — a new movement to ban online gambling in light of confusing evidence about its popularity and impact on health and society.
Here is a breakdown of three US states and their gaming law. Alabama gaming law depends on outdated definitions of gambling and old cultural traditions against betting.
Alabamans can place bets at four different pari-mutuel facilities that include e-bingo games, even though state law makes these activities illegal. The state is also home to three tribal venues that operate slot and video poker games. Alabama has a draconian approach to social gambling, every instance of which is illegal within state lines. The state legislature has yet to address the issue of the legality of online gambling. For an example of a US state with hardcore anti-gaming laws, look no further than Indiana.
Still, with restrictions on two of the most popular forms of betting in America, Indiana is not a gambler-friendly state.
Besides presenting valuable information regarding Washington D. But the attempt did not receive the support it deserved, and the state now has no proper laws that address online gambling. Simultaneously, it has no law stating that it is illegal for its residents to sign up at offshore online gambling sites that accept its residents.
So far, the state has not prosecuted any of its residents for playing real money games online. The gambling laws of Washington D. The laws are ambiguous and confusing, but they definitely make it illegal for residents to gamble at any venue other than that licensed and approved by the state. Fortunately for players, they can get off lightly if caught taking part in illegal games, but those operating illegal gambling businesses in Washington D. There are no pari-mutuel betting options either.
The only legalized and regulated form of gambling is the state-owned lottery. While it is safe for players to take part in home games, operators of home games tend to get into trouble with the law. However, the state permits several types of charity gaming, such as bingo games, raffles, and casino nights. Any offshore online gambling site that is not based in the District of Columbia and accepts Washington D.
The state has absolutely no laws against its residents signing up for real money play at licensed offshore online gambling sites that are legal such as casinos, poker rooms, and online sportsbooks. We've gone ahead and broken down each type below for your review.
Simultaneously, the state has no laws in its law book preventing residents from playing for real money at licensed offshore online casinos. We have listed a number of legal online casinos for Washington D.