Using the Internet to gamble is illegal under the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. There are also some state laws governing gambling, including prohibitions on ad targeting vulnerable individuals. In addition, online gaming sites often have tools to help players maintain a level of responsibility.
The most important federal law regulating gambling on the Internet is the Online Gambling Regulation Act, commonly abbreviated as OGRA. This law, first enacted in 2001, regulates the industry and prohibits US residents from operating gambling websites.
The OGRA, which is the most widely cited federal law on gambling, includes the following provisions: (1) a definition of “unlawful Internet gambling”, which includes placing bets and transmitting bets. It also includes age verification, location verification, and appropriate data security standards. The law prohibits financial transactions with illegal Internet bettors. It also includes Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions that prohibit illegal gambling business activities.
The other is the CRS Report RS21984 (the abridged version of which is also available), which contains several citations to state gambling laws. It also contains the text of several of the cited statutes.
One of the most exciting aspects of gambling is the ability to wager real money online. In addition, the thrill of betting can often cause players to abandon common sense rules. The CRS Report RS21984 provides several useful tools to help players remain responsible.
There are several supporting factors for dealing with illegal gambling, such as self-exclusion programs that allow players to voluntarily renounce participation in certain types of games. Some online gaming sites delay changes for 24 hours and set limits on deposit increases.