Among the various forms of gambling on the Internet, poker is growing in popularity faster than the other forms. Poker is an online game played with software. This high-tech software enables players to gamble in virtual reality. Players can chat with other players online and wager on real-time games. Most online gambling sites offer bonuses for deposits of 5% to 20% of the initial amount. Typically, winnings are paid via certified check that is mailed to the winner.
Some of the more prominent forms of online gambling include sports betting, virtual poker, casinos, and lottery tickets. In 2005, sports book betting accounted for one-third of the overall online gambling market. Online poker accounted for 18% of the revenue. Online gambling sites allow players to use debit cards, credit cards, and online payment services to deposit and withdraw funds. Some sites offer free play for new users to get the hang of the games. Other sites offer prizes for repeat business.
Online gambling is also considered illegal under the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. In order to avoid prosecution under these statutes, internet gambling operators must ensure that their financial transactions are secure. Some sites accept electronic checks and credit cards. Others offer high-tech software that allows players to gamble in virtual reality.
The United States Department of Justice has been involved in a series of criminal investigations into online gambling. In a criminal case, United States v. K23 Group Financial Services, an Internet poker operator was charged with violating the 18 U.S.C. 1955 for money laundering. Other cases involve the unlawful use of interstate facilities for unlawful activities.
There are several other federal statutes that are implicated in the illegal gambling on the Internet. These include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and the Travel Act. The Federal Communications Commission also has jurisdiction over common carriers, and may discontinue leasing or providing facilities. However, attacks based on the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment have enjoyed little success.
Despite the fact that the United States is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, the legality of internet gambling has remained a matter of debate. In addition, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. The United States government has responded by bolstering state laws and creating a federal law to protect consumers from illegal gambling.
The National Gambling Impact Study Commission has attempted to estimate the size of the online gambling industry. It estimated that the industry generated nearly $2 billion in 2000. Some analysts have speculated that the industry may be larger, but there is no consensus on the exact size.
Among the most prominent forms of gambling on the Internet, poker is the fastest growing. Online poker accounted for 18% of all online gambling revenue in 2005. The game has become more popular because of high-tech software that makes gambling more interactive. Most online gambling sites offer a 5% to 20% deposit bonus, and the majority require players to wager two or three times the bonus amount. Players can also participate in a lottery game and receive prizes for repeat business.