Whether you play online poker, gamble at an online casino, or wager on sports, it’s important to understand the laws surrounding illegal gambling. Some states allow Internet-based gambling, while others prohibit it altogether. In addition, the federal government is taking steps to regulate and prosecute these activities.
Illegal gambling on the Internet has been linked to at least seven federal criminal statutes. These include the Wire Act, which makes it unlawful to bet on sporting events, and the Travel Act, which bans gambling over the internet.
Another law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), prohibits financial transactions related to gambling. This is a relatively new regulation, and there are only a few cases involving it so far. However, it is a step in the right direction.
Other laws that are associated with illegal Internet gambling are the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The UIGEA is not specific to online gambling, and the RICO provisions would also prohibit illegal gambling businesses.
A proposed bill to address illegal Internet gambling is the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, or HR 2046. It would require licensing of internet gambling facilities by the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. While it may not be a game changer, it does provide the federal government with a way to regulate commercial activity, weed out low-level gambling cases, and possibly prevent further problems.
In addition to a license, an online gambling service provider must comply with certain data security standards and receive appropriate certifications. Advertisements of the services are often considered aiding and abetting and could be subject to prosecution.