The Legality of Online Gambling
Gambling is a form of activity that includes betting something of value on a random event. There are three elements involved: the prize, the wager, and the risk. In addition, each state has a different set of rules regulating gambling. Some states have a more lenient approach to gambling, while others have stricter restrictions.
Historically, gambling has taken place in physical locations. Today, gambling is usually conducted through the use of a mobile device or PC. It is also possible to make bets over the Internet, though there are limits to how far the legality of online betting can be extended.
For the longest time, online gambling was illegal in the United States. However, the federal government left it up to individual states to regulate it. The Wire Act of 1961 made it unlawful to place wagers across state lines. This law was enacted to combat the activities of the mafia and other organized crime groups that operated sports betting organizations. A few states granted exceptions for limited forms of betting.
Several years ago, the Department of Justice examined the legality of online gambling. They concluded that the Wire Act applied to online legal betting. Since then, many forms of online gambling have been legalized in the US.
While the Wire Act applies to all forms of online wagering, some online casinos are unable to process real money transactions. Because of this, some states have not been particularly active in enforcing the law.
As of now, there are at least 48 states that permit some form of gambling. Usually, state laws regulate the types of games that can be played, who can gamble, and where the bets can take place. Among the states that have regulated gambling are Delaware, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Depending on the type of gambling, each state has a different age requirement for its residents to participate. Hawaii, for example, prohibits gambling entirely. Likewise, Idaho has no interest in allowing gambling. But in some states, such as New Jersey, gambling is permitted at age 21.
In addition to state-level laws, there are also some federal laws that are in effect. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which prohibits financial institutions from processing transactions with unlicensed gambling websites. Other federal laws, such as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), restrict sports betting at the state level.
Although these laws are not the only ones that affect how and where gambling is played in the US, they do provide a good foundation for understanding the legality of gambling in the country. State laws are typically more lenient, and the US federal government leaves it up to the individual states to create regulations that fit their particular needs.
In 2013, Nevada became the first state to allow online poker and casino gambling. New Jersey followed with a similar effort, and Delaware began its own process of regulating online gaming. Several other states, including Pennsylvania, have begun a similar process.