Federal Laws and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Various state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. The federal government has also been aware of such concerns, and federal prosecutors have warned companies like PayPal that they could face prosecution for accepting financial instruments from illegal Internet bets.

Several federal criminal statutes have been implicated by illegal Internet gambling. These statutes include the Travel Act, the Wire Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Several of the statutes have been contested on constitutional grounds.

The Travel Act, for example, prohibits the facilitation of unlawful gambling, but it also prohibits money laundering. This is because a gambling business is prohibited from accepting payment for illegal Internet gambling. This is one of the most esoteric forms of gambling.

The Travel Act also enumerates several other laws, most notably the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling on sporting events and contests. These statutes may be the most important because they impose fines on those committing illegal gambling. Other laws that have been cited as important by the federal government include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and the Wire Act. The Wire Act also prohibits the transmission of gambling information from New York to other states through the Internet.

The Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) also has its fair share of obscurities. This title prohibits the acceptance of payment for illegal Internet gambling, but also prohibits gambling businesses from claiming they have done anything to prevent their patrons from placing illegal Internet bets. However, the IGBA is not as well known as other laws. The most obvious question is whether it will survive an attack on its constitutional merits.