Legal Issues Regarding Online Gambling in the United States

Online gambling is any type of gambling conducted via the internet. This includes online casinos, poker and sporting events betting. The very first online gambling venue to open to the public, was Ticketing for the prestigious Liechtenstein International Poker Tournament in October 1994. Since that time online gambling has exploded in popularity.

In 1996 the United States federal government made online gambling as a legal activity. This brought about new legal avenues for both the home based gamer and the online casino games developers. Many states have since followed suit and today gambling in this way is even more widely accepted. In fact many states now offer a combination of live online casinos and video slot machines to their citizens.

One of the most important legal issues surrounding internet gambling in the United States is the Wire Act. This was created by congress in the 1970’s and regulates how a person can transfer money over the internet between establishments. The Wire Act allows for a variety of forms of gambling, but it is primarily focused on online gambling and requires that all transactions be conducted through a licensed Wire Act Business intermediary such as a bank or credit union. All fees must be paid by the Wire Act business before funds are transferred, but a person may also transfer funds by fax, regular mail, or by a specified third party, such as a friend or family member. Because no state has the power to regulate all aspects of Wire Acts, it is up to the individual states to enforce their respective laws and regulations and provide protection for their citizens.

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