Although there have been some victories for online gambling, many states have not legalized or regulated online gambling. Some states have a state gambling monopoly that prohibits online gambling, and others have passed laws that limit online gambling. In some cases, federal prosecutors have threatened to prosecute operators. There are also loopholes in the laws.
In the United States, the legality of online gambling is controversial. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 places certain limitations on the ability of banks to transact with unlicensed Internet gambling sites, but does not define which gambling activities are legal. It was once thought that the Federal Wire Act prohibited all forms of online gambling, but that law only prohibits poker and lottery sites.
Online casinos come in two flavors: download-based and web-based. Most web-based casinos use an HTML-based interface, which allows gamers to play without installing any software on their computers. Download-based casinos typically run faster than web-based ones because the software client caches graphics and sound programs. However, an initial download of software can take some time, and internet downloads can potentially contain malware.