Despite the fact that federal criminal statutes prohibiting illegal gambling on the internet are not yet well established, the notion of illegal gambling on the Internet has sparked interest amongst state officials. Although there have been some notable successes, enforcing federal gambling laws in the United States has also been challenged on constitutional grounds. This is particularly true with regard to the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling on contests.
The first online gambling venue for the general public, the Liechtenstein International Lottery, opened in 2007. In this case, the competition was a bit more sophisticated than the average sports betting site. Instead of using the old fashioned roulette wheel or poker table, players logged in to the site through their computer and played with avatars representing real people. The site displayed a list of games to choose from, with instructions on how to play them.
A more complicated and more esoteric form of online gambling, however, can be found at online casinos. These sites offer a variety of gambling games, including poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Players can choose to download software to their computer or play the games directly from the Internet. In many cases, players must first login to the site and deposit funds in order to play. Credit card is the most common deposit method. Some casinos only offer one option, while others offer both.
The most important part of online gambling, however, is the act of placing a wager. The game is similar to the one found in a traditional casino, with the exception that players are not dealt a hand by a live dealer. The site will then process the game data and determine who wins each hand automatically. In addition to the standard deposit methods, many sites also offer “instant” games, where players can wager on the fly. Some games are available online, while others are only available in person at casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other major cities. The most sophisticated sites even offer games on mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone.
The most basic form of online gambling is sports betting. Although there are no federal statutes specifically targeting online gambling, it is illegal under the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Several states have passed laws limiting online gambling, and the Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers and facilities used for online gambling. The agency’s jurisdiction also extends to the leasing of facilities and the furnishing of service. The commission may also choose to restrict facilities for online gambling, and could even halt the provision of such services entirely.
A more complicated form of online gambling is virtual poker. Online poker is played on a virtual poker table, with a random number generator determining who wins each hand. The game is similar to that found in a traditional poker room, with the exception that players don’t need to download any software to play.