Across the United States, gambling is legal, illegal, and a wide range of laws govern it. Gambling encompasses a variety of games of chance, including horse races and sporting events. It is illegal to bet without a permit, and a problem gambler can face fines and jail time. The National Council on Problem Gambling recognizes gambling as a fun activity, but it also says it’s important to raise awareness about gambling to help prevent problems.
Congress has used its power under the Commerce Clause to regulate gambling on Native American reservations and in Native American territories. Gambling is legal on the federal level, but Congress has limited the types of gambling and has prohibited unauthorized transportation of lottery tickets between states. In addition to sports betting, Congress has prohibited betting on collegiate games, such as college basketball, football, and hockey.
The United States Department of Justice has taken steps to protect the integrity of online gambling. In November, Florida legalized betting on major sports events via the Internet. However, this action isn’t the end of the road. While Florida will be the first state to legally offer sports betting on the Internet, other states are following suit. In fact, four states have already approved sports betting on the Internet.
In April 2007, Representative Barney Frank introduced HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. This bill would require internet gambling facilities to be licensed by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The bill hasn’t received much attention. However, critics of the bill believe it has no legal basis and that it could be considered aiding and abetting.
The Department of Justice has also taken steps to protect online gambling, including the Wire Act of 1961. The Wire Act was originally designed to stop the illegal activities associated with horse racing and other sports betting. It also prevents money laundering. However, the Wire Act does not apply to digital wagering, which means online casinos and sportsbooks are able to “spot” players with money to play with, giving the illusion that there’s no risk of money coming into the system.
In recent years, gambling activity on Native American territories has exploded. In some areas, gambling establishments are located on ships that are outside of territorial waters. In other areas, casinos have signed contracts to operate in retail locations.
As the gambling market has grown, it has also attracted outside investment, creating an opportunity for the state of Texas to make a move. The State of Michigan passed legislation in December allowing online sports betting. However, Texas is unlikely to be the next state to pass a sports betting bill.
The United Kingdom has also taken steps to regulate internet gambling, including the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. France has also considered introducing new laws to tax and regulate internet gambling. It is unclear whether Michigan will pass sports betting legislation in the future, but legislators are hopeful that it will happen.