Online gambling, which means placing bets or using the Internet for gambling, has become very popular. There are several types of gambling, including casinos, sports betting, poker, bingo, and lottery. However, illegal Internet gambling is a crime under a number of federal laws. The following is a brief summary of the major criminal statutes involved.
The Wire Act prohibits the use of the Internet for illegal gambling on sporting events or contests. Illegal Internet gambling is also prohibited under the Travel Act. In addition to prohibiting illegal Internet gambling, the Travel Act also prohibits gambling on interstate commerce.
Some of the more recognizable federal criminal statutes involved in illegal online gambling include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. These statutes provide penalties of up to five years in prison and/or a fine for the owners of illegal gambling businesses.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, also known as the UIGEA, is a criminal law that was enacted in 2006. Its purpose is to prevent internet gambling from taking place. It covers a number of crimes, including money laundering, unlawful gambling, and the possession or sale of illegal gambling devices.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act requires that the owner of an illegal gambling business be in business for at least thirty days. The owner must also have gross revenue of at least $2,000 in any single day. He can be fined up to $50,000 or imprisoned for up to five years.
The Racketeer Influenced and corrupt Organizations (RICO) provision lays out the specific criminal offenses that can be committed in the operation of an illegal gambling business. The RICO provisions include gambling, betting, and bookmaking. Other facets of an illegal gambling business are the maintenance of slot machines and roulette wheels, selling chances, and conducting lotteries.
While the Commerce Clause is a powerful tool for regulating commercial activities, there are also due process concerns with the way in which federal law regulates gambling. Specifically, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet may be used to transport illegal gambling across state lines. This can frustrate the enforcement policies of states.
Because of the federal nature of gambling, there are a number of constitutional challenges that have been raised. These arguments are often based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Attempts to attack these laws on this basis have largely failed. But the Commerce Clause and the Due Process Clause have been less successful in dealing with the issue.
As more technological advances have allowed for the proliferation of online gambling, it is important to consider the legal issues affecting the industry. It is also important to remember that the majority of the laws in this area are state law. Nevertheless, federal law reinforces and enforces state laws in many cases.
One interesting case that has not been decided yet is a case brought by the United States v. K23 Group Financial Services, an online gaming operator. The government has charged this company with violating 18 U.S.C. 1955, a money laundering statute.