There are two main types of online gambling sites: casinos and sports betting sites. Both use a web browser, but the gaming software required for casino sites is much more complex than that of a sporting event website. Gambling sites are also available for mobile devices. However, unlike sports betting sites, many require you to download an app to play.
The legal status of online gambling is governed by a series of federal statutes, including the Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). These statutes all apply to the same type of activity, but the statutes are a little different.
In general, the UIGEA makes it illegal for an Internet gambling provider to accept financial instruments in exchange for an unlawful Internet wager. This is a broad sweeping law that has the potential to bring down a number of large Internet companies. It was recently revealed that PayPal, a company that allows people to send and receive money over the Internet, is one such company that may face legal ramifications for its operations.
For some, the first online casino site they came across was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. While it was not the first to offer the service, it was the first to market its services to the general public. Some of the other firsts included the first online casino for Mac users and the first to market an “instant” gaming experience.
Online casinos typically publish instructions on how to use their software. They can be downloaded or can be played instantly, just by typing in the correct address into a browser. Once the player has logged in, he or she can choose from several types of games. Although each game may vary, most have a number of common features. Such features include the option to select from a variety of bets and to adjust stakes.
Among the UIGEA’s other legal innovations, the law makes it illegal to provide a “service” for the purpose of facilitating an unlawful Internet bet. As with other statutes, the legal implications of this sweeping law are unclear. One of the issues is whether the term “service” is too narrow a term to cover the many possible types of transactions.
Of course, the law does not make all illegal Internet gamblers out of business. In addition to UIGEA, there are seven federal criminal statutes that make it illegal to participate in this activity. That is not to say that these laws are easy to enforce, but the UIGEA has made it harder.
In addition to the UIGEA and the related statutes, other major laws involved in the Internet gambling game are the Travel Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. These laws were enacted in the wake of the United States’ successful efforts to prosecute Internet poker operators in the early 2000s.
Besides the aforementioned UIGEA and the Travel Act, the Federal Communications Commission has also stepped in to regulate facilities that host Internet gambling. In the United States, the FCC has the power to stop the leasing or furnishing of facilities if it finds that they are used in violation of the law.