Whether you’re a casino player or a poker player, the laws surrounding online gambling in the United States vary from state to state. Some states allow gambling on their own, while others require licensing.
However, it’s important to know whether your state permits legal gambling. A recent case involving the owners of three major online poker sites, charges them with money laundering and violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
In March 2007, the Department of Justice seized $3.2 million from Discovery Communications and Sporting News, two media companies that agreed to pay a fine of $3 million for accepting advertising from a Costa Rican gambling operation. It’s unclear what other media outlets may face penalties.
The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was introduced in the US Senate in 1999. It would have barred all forms of online gambling.
Since then, several similar bills have been introduced in the House. In April 2007, Barney Frank introduced a bill called HR 2046. This bill, which is titled the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, would require internet gambling facilities to be licensed by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Among the issues arising from the federal government’s attempt to enforce these laws are questions of legislative power and due process. The commerce clause in the Constitution allows Congress to pass legislation to regulate interstate or foreign activities. But due process arguments are more difficult to overcome when it comes to financial transactions within the U.S.