Online Gambling is a term that covers many forms of betting. It includes virtual poker and casinos, as well as sports betting and lotteries. Various nations have legalized online gambling. In the United States, it is illegal to gamble without a license.
The first online poker rooms and gambling sites were introduced in the late 1990s. By 1996, there were about fifteen such sites. A report by Frost & Sullivan revealed that revenues generated by the industry exceeded $830 million.
As the popularity of online gambling grew, it became clear that states were beginning to question whether the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This concern led to the introduction of legislation. In 1999, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was introduced. However, a number of constitutional objections greeted the prospect of prosecuting such activity.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was created to combat illegal gambling. Section 1956 of the law creates several separate crimes. These include laundering for a law enforcement sting, laundering to disguise, and laundering with intent to promote an illicit activity.
Under the UIGEA, the founders of three major online poker companies were charged with money laundering. They were found guilty and received fines of up to $25,000 and two years of probation.
In April 2007, the US House of Representatives introduced a bill that would modify the UIGEA. The bill, titled HR 2046, would regulate internet gambling and require licensing by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.