Despite the recent high-profile indictments of the founder and CEO of Internet gambling company BetOnSports PLC, it does not appear that online gamblers in most U.S. states have any reason to fear prosecution - at least not by the federal government.
The state's gambling commission has promised not to start an active campaign against regular players. However, if a gambling site's records are seized, players whose names appear in the records will likely be sent a warning letter.
When it comes to federal criminal charges, individual users of gambling sites have not been targeted for several reasons, including questions over whether or not they are even breaking the law, according to Gary Kashar, a partner in the New York office of the law firm White & Case who has clients in the gambling industry.
Instead, the government has tried to put up some roadblocks to stop people from gambling on computers based in the United States.
Still, the federal judge in the BetOnSports case sent gamblers a clear message regarding how her court feels about users of the sites. A restraining order filed in the case told the company to post this message on all its Web sites accessible to post this message: "It is a violation of United States law to transmit sports wagers or betting information to this Web site from the United States."