The legality of online gambling is still debated, and differs from state to state. In the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006, which limits banks’ ability to transact with illegal internet-based gambling sites, but it doesn’t define online gambling itself. In the past, people assumed that the Federal Wire Act (FWA) banned all forms of online gambling. However, the Wire Act doesn’t prohibit online gambling, as long as it is done through a regulated online gambling website.
The Canadian criminal code prohibits the operation of online gambling outside of a licensed casino by a state authority. This includes lottery schemes, games of chance, and online casinos that are not licensed by the provincial government. However, in 2010, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation opened the country’s first legal online casino, PlayNow. The province of Quebec also operates a legal online casino through Loto-Quebec.
The federal government’s ability to prosecute Internet gambling has been challenged on constitutional grounds. However, attacks under the Commerce Clause, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, and the Due Process Clause have met with limited success. Commerce Clause doubts are resolved by the commercial nature of the business, while free speech objections are limited by the First Amendment’s protection of crimes that facilitate speech. Additionally, due process arguments are limited when financial transactions are involved.
One of the most popular forms of online gambling is online casinos. Online casinos are a widespread form of gambling, and many online casinos offer bonuses to new players. Some claim to offer higher payback percentages than other casinos. Some even publish audits of their payout percentages on their websites. Other online casinos offer a higher house edge, which is an important factor in determining payout percentages.