The United States government has stepped up its attempts to regulate Internet gambling. Specifically, the government has raised the spectre of its constitutional right to police interstate commerce, a concept known as the Commerce Clause.
This means that a government can fine or arrest a person if the state has a law on the books that makes it illegal to gamble online. While these laws vary from state to state, some states have legalized online gambling, while others do not.
One law that has caused much controversy is the Wire Act, which governs all forms of Internet gambling. This includes sports betting, casino games, and poker. It also prohibits banks from processing transactions related to gambling.
Another law, the Travel Act, relates to players who use interstate facilities to conduct illegal activities. There is a similar statute in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Finally, there is the UIGEA, or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It is a federal criminal statute that charges Internet poker operators with money laundering and other frauds.
In order to be compliant with the UIGEA, the website must be licensed and the information provided to players must be accurate. Also, the website may be located outside the United States.
In the end, it is unclear if the UIGEA will be used against people who are participating in online gambling. However, some believe it has no legal basis.
In the late 1990s, the first 15 or so gambling websites were operating. These sites offered various forms of gambling, including virtual poker and casinos. Some of them only worked on Windows PCs.