Several federal criminal statutes are implicated in illegal Internet gambling. These statutes include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. However, not all of these statutes are applicable to internet gambling. In fact, some of them are more relevant to state regulation of the Internet than federal law.
The Wire Act prohibits gambling on sports events, and the Travel Act makes it illegal to operate a business that facilitates gambling. The Travel Act also prohibits promotion and facilitation of illegal gambling, and states may have an obligation to prosecute those who violate these laws. The Illegal Gambling Business Act makes it illegal to conduct a gambling business, and it prohibits the acceptance of any payment or instrument for the purpose of illegal Internet gambling.
There are several other statutes that also affect online gambling. In particular, the RICO Act, which prohibits Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), prohibits illegal gambling business activities. Other statutes include the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, also known as the Johnson Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which regulates gambling on Indian lands. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission may also have a role in the regulation of the Internet. It is not a surprise that the federal government is involved in these matters.
The most important statute, however, is the UIGEA, which prohibits financial transactions that involve illegal Internet gambling. In addition, the Travel Act, which makes it illegal to engage in illegal gambling on interstate commerce, is also relevant. The CRS Report RS21984 is a good resource for a comprehensive look at these statutes, as well as many other relevant federal statutes. Several state officials have voiced their concerns that the Internet may be a nefarious medium for illegal gambling.
The aforementioned aforementioned CRS report also cites several state statutes relating to gambling. The CRS report on the aforementioned statutes is available on its website. In addition, the CRS report RS21984 contains citations to several state gambling statutes. In addition to the aforementioned statutes, there are many other federal statutes relating to the Internet, such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Cable Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
As of this writing, there are no definitive answers to the question, “What is the most important federal statute relating to online gambling?” However, the following laws have been implicated in online gambling: the Travel Act, the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Illegal Online Gambling Enforcement Act, the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. These laws all impose penalties on individuals who engage in illegal Internet gambling. Interestingly, the most effective prosecutions of these crimes have tended to occur on state lines. The federal government’s power to enforce federal laws has been a subject of considerable debate. In particular, the Commerce Clause has been raised as a possible source of legislative power. In some cases, the commercial nature of the gambling business has served to overcome the Commerce Clause’s objections.