The Dangers of Online Gambling
Despite its many benefits, online gambling can also be a risky business. The Internet can provide an easy platform for fraudsters to create shady websites, lure players into illegal transactions, and restrict their access to legitimate websites. If a fraudulent website can lure a player into making a bet, the resulting losses can be huge. The consequences for a gambling addict may be financial ruin.
In addition to a loss of money, an online gambler’s performance at school or in other settings can suffer. Often, gamblers will continue gambling even if they are on a losing streak. They will keep trying until they win a big bet, even if they need to borrow money to pay their rent or other expenses. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to stop and close the website. It is important to educate yourself on the risks of gambling and stay responsible.
As a result of the 2006 UIGEA, a specific carve-out was created for games of skill. These games are only allowed to be consumed or played online if the state in which they are located approves of their use. If the state does not authorize a game of skill to be consumed or played online, it is prohibited. However, a federal law does not preclude individual states from passing legislation on their own.
While some courts have recognized that Internet gambling is a form of commerce, they have raised questions about the scope of the Commerce Clause. These attacks on the Clause based on free speech objections have failed to achieve any significant success. The commercial nature of the gambling business seems to satisfy these questions, but the limited protection for crime facilitating speech has created a quandary for First Amendment arguments.
Under the federal criminal statutes that are implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet, a person is not only liable for the loss of money but also for violating other crimes such as money laundering. Those charges have been brought against various individuals in the past, including Internet poker operators. In the United States v. K23 Group Financial Services, a group of Internet poker operators was charged with violations of 18 U.S.C. 1955 and money laundering. The case was decided by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
In addition to the criminal prosecutions, the Department of Justice has also seized funds from several companies, including Discovery Communications and Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rican casino operation. In a series of legal actions, federal marshals have seized $3.2 million from those companies.
Another important issue is whether or not the federal government can enforce the law against Internet gaming operators. The issue has been raised in several cases, but the Fifth and Tenth Circuits have ruled against the government. These decisions have been interpreted as a narrowing of the Commerce Clause. This is due to the fact that the Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers. The agency has the authority to prohibit or regulate the furnishing or leasing of facilities, as well as to discontinue the provision of facilities.