2017 Update: This online gambling law bill is still sitting in committee. No movement.
The Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act may be a game changer.
A Minuscule History of Online Gambling Law in the United States
Gambling and money were born on the same day.
By 1995, digital casinos had come into existence. And for many unregulated years, millions of people gambled online, uninterrupted.
The money flowed. People made fortunes. By 1997, annual profits soared to $1 billion; by 2007, $10.9 billion.
In 2006, politicians passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which outlawed sending bets over the Internet.
The Country’s Current Online Gambling Law: Can’t Make Wagers Over The Internet
As noted above, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 made it illegal for companies to collect bets or wagers through the Internet.
However, the Act does allow states to implement jurisdictional online gambling operations. Yes, some regions allow online gambling. But other states, like Washington, classify it as a felony.
States have banned sports betting, in particular. Why? To avoid conflicts with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Reasons For Federal Online Gambling Ban
- Most online gambling companies currently operating are foreign, unknown entities. Legislators worry that Americans are sending money and personal information to shady parties, which could have national security implications.
- Reliable online age verification is still a hurdle.
- Addiction professionals lobby against it.
Gaming Bill Proposal
Legislators introduced a new gaming law that could open up the field. The Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013 would:
- Legalize Internet gaming, but with regulations. Casino games including roulette and poker would be allowed under the Act.
- States can opt out, under the proposed law. But failing to respond within 120 days is considered an automatic opt-in.
- Licensing requirements would offer protection against identity theft and other harmful consequences.
- Players caught cheating would face possible fines and imprisonment.