Using the Internet for gambling is a crime under the Illegal Gambling Business Act. The statute defines illegal Internet gambling as “using any part of the Internet, or any facility utilizing the Internet, for unlawful gambling.” The law also prohibits receiving bets on the Internet and transmitting bets on the Internet. The law also requires appropriate data security measures. The owner of an illegal gambling business can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years.
There are several other laws that affect illegal Internet gambling. The Wire Act, which is federal law that prohibits the use of the internet for illegal sports betting and contests, is an important one. Another is the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which regulates gambling on Indian lands. Other statutes include the Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA), the Federal Communication Commission, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), and the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, also known as the Johnson Act.
The first venue to offer online gambling to the public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. In addition to the first online lottery, the site hosted virtual poker games, keno games, blackjack, and other types of online casino games. The website also offered a large menu of online sports betting options. Other licensed sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, offer fair odds and daily specials on mainstream professional sports and eSports. The site also offers a 225% welcome bonus on slots and a 30x maximum payout on table games and scratch cards.
Despite the plethora of federal laws against online gambling, state officials have expressed concerns that the internet can be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This concern has led to legal challenges based on both the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment. Whether the government can exercise its power under the Commerce Clause to enforce the law against Internet gambling remains a question of debate.
The Travel Act, a statute that prohibits money laundering, facilitating unlawful gambling, and promoting unlawful gambling, is another federal statute that is applicable to online gambling. The Act is enforceable by reference to shipments in interstate or foreign commerce, a gambling debt, or an interstate or foreign nexus to the distribution of gambling proceeds. In addition, the statute may apply to a gambling facility if it is operated by more than five persons. This may involve a proprietor, manager, or director.
Aside from the Travel Act and the Wire Act, other federal criminal statutes that are implicated by illegal Internet gambling are the Wire Act, the UIGEA, and the RICO. The UIGEA, which is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, prohibits gambling businesses from accepting payment for illegal Internet bets. The statute requires that the owner of the illegal gambling business have gross revenue of at least $2000 in a single day and be in operation for at least two days. The statute also prohibits spending more than $10,000 in the course of an illegal Internet bet.
In addition, Section 1956 outlines the legalities of laundering. The statute creates a series of distinct crimes, ranging from concealing to evading taxes to law enforcement stings. The section also aims to provide a level playing field for legitimate online gambling by requiring that the online gambling business offer randomized, fair betting odds.