Federal Laws Imposed by Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Several federal criminal statutes are implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet. These include the Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, and the Interstate Commerce Act. These laws also reinforce state law in some cases.

The Wire Act bans illegal gambling on sporting events and contests. It also prohibits betting on non-sporting events. Illegal Internet gambling includes the act of receiving bets online, transmitting bets to another person, and using part or all of the Internet to receive and make bets. The Federal Communications Commission can discontinue the furnishing or renting of facilities to illegal gambling businesses. It can also impose fines and imprisonment for violating these statutes.

The federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) makes it illegal to own or operate an illegal gambling business. This includes casinos, lottery operations, sports books, and any other type of facility that makes bets. The owner or operator of the illegal gambling business can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined.

IGBA also prohibits accepting payment from an illegal Internet bet. Section 1957 makes it illegal to spend more than $10,000 of illegal gambling proceeds on any single transaction. It also bans spending more than $10,000 in any thirty-day period.

IGBA also prohibits laundering for illegal gambling proceeds. Section 1956 creates several distinct crimes: laundering for international purposes, laundering to disguise, laundering with intent to promote illicit activity, and laundering for law enforcement stings.