The government has been looking for ways to stop Internet gambling. The federal government has already made some progress on this front. The United States Department of Justice has announced it will enforce the Wire Act against all forms of Internet gambling, including advertisements. This means that advertising for online gambling may be considered aiding and abetting, which could result in a criminal conviction. However, critics say the move has no legal basis.
There have been several attempts to regulate internet gambling in the United States. However, these efforts have not been successful. Some full-service credit card companies have prohibited customers from using their cards for Internet gambling and have refused to license Internet gambling sites. Additionally, several credit card associations have imposed transaction coding systems, which deny authorization to Internet gambling transactions.
While states are generally responsible for regulating gambling, the federal government can regulate the activity through the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Internet gambling falls under interstate commerce because wagers are placed on personal computers that connect to servers in other states. The government can also prohibit online gambling if the gambling activity is illegal in a state.
Internet gambling has been a growing industry since the mid-to-late 1990s. There were fifteen websites in 1996, and over 200 by 1998, according to Frost & Sullivan, whose report stated that online gambling revenue reached $830 million in 1998. The first online poker rooms were launched in 1998. In 1999, the US Senate introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which would have prohibited online gambling for U.S. citizens. Also in 1999, multiplayer online gambling was introduced.