Federal Laws and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

The gambling industry has been growing in popularity due to technological advancements. Casinos, sports betting, virtual poker, pool-selling, bookmaking, and lottery are some of the many types of gambling available to Americans. Some casinos offer live casino games, while others have online gaming options. Online gambling is an alternative to land-based gambling, as it provides a variety of opportunities for people to bet on sporting events, whether they are in the US or abroad.

Illegal internet gambling involves using or accessing the Internet in a manner that violates federal criminal statutes. In addition to enforcing state law, federal criminal laws impose penalties for individuals involved in illegal Internet gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the Travel Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The Internet can also be used to facilitate other forms of illegal activity, such as contests, and gambling businesses. This has led state officials to express concern that Internet sites are used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. However, while federal law reinforces state law in cases, due process objections have been raised.

The Commerce Clause raises questions about the power of Congress to regulate activities in part overseas. On the other hand, the commercial nature of the gambling business seems to satisfy some of the Commerce Clause’s doubts. Similarly, the First Amendment enumerates free speech as a fundamental right. While the First Amendment does restrict a crime’s ability to facilitate speech, the limited protection in this context encumbers objections to free speech.

The Illegal Gambling Business Act is a statute that requires individuals to be engaged in illegal gambling business operations to be liable for fines. An individual must be engaged in an illegal gambling business for a continuous period of thirty days or more to be charged with a violation of the statute. If the individual is found guilty, the penalty is up to five years in prison.

The IGBA also prohibits activities that help gambling companies disguise themselves. Under this title, an individual may be convicted for providing a financial instrument to an individual who uses the Internet to place an illegal bet. Furthermore, a person may be convicted for laundering money to disguise his or her activities.

The Travel Act likewise prohibits activities that involve interstate commerce in connection with gambling. It is the same law that applies to Internet casinos. A player who uses an Internet facility for unlawful activity must pay the full cost of the transportation and lodging for the entire journey. Likewise, the Federal Communications Commission has the power to cease furnishing or maintaining facilities.

Despite these laws, illegal Internet gambling is not uncommon. A recent report by the American Banker estimated that in the past five years, the number of people using the Internet to place illegal bets has increased. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the amount of illegal Internet gambling has more than doubled since 2006.

As a result, the federal government has prosecuted several cases for unlawful Internet gambling. In the case of K23 Group Financial Services, an Internet poker operator was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. 1955.