Legality of Online Gambling Part 1
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Legality of Online Gambling Part 1

Legality of Online Gambling
Part 1 USA, Canada, Australia

United States
1961, Wire Act:
transmission of wagering information in interstate
or foreign bets is prohibited

1970, Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses
violation of a state anti-gambling law becomes a federal crime

1992, Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act
illegal for any government / state / tribe to authorize legal wagers which are based in any way on sports events.

1997, Bill defeated: The Internet Prohibition Act  to ban all forms of Internet gambling

2006, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA) within The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006"(SAFE Port Act) as the Title VIII of the Act

  • criminalizes the acceptance of funds from bettors by operators of most online gambling sites; these are the operators who "being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly accept proceeds from credit cards, electronic fund transfers and checks in connection with with the participation of a bettor in unlawful Internet gambling, which is the sponsorship of online gambling that violates any other federal or state anti-gambling law"
  • it is not explicitly stated that it is illegal for a player to make bets or wagers

Consequences. Because of the passage of the act, public online gambling websites (e.g. listed on London Stock Exchange) ceased to accept US players. Many non-public companies continued taking United States customers.

According to Canadian Criminal Code (1982), most gambling activities are illegal including online gambling and with the exception of horse racing.

In 1985, amendment to Canadian Criminal Code was introduced giving provincial governments exclusive control over gambling. Gambling operations must be licensed by the provinces. It is usually provinces themselves that operate the online gambling.

Interactive Gambling Act passed by the Australian Gov. on 28 June 2001 states that:

  • online sports betting is legal, but only pre-event betting (live betting is illegal)
  • it is an offence, both for Australian and foreign operators, to provide interactive gambling (poker or casino games) to customers who are physically present in Australia, though it is not illegal for Australian citizens to sign-up and gamble online
  • having been passed in 2001 as a response to growing concerns regarding problem gambling, the act also stresses the importance of protecting Australians from the harmful effects of gambling.