Federal Laws and Online Gambling

Among the federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal Internet gambling are the Travel Act, the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The federal government has a long history of enforcing gambling laws, but questions have arisen about whether such laws are constitutional.

The Travel Act prohibits interstate gambling. The Wire Act prohibits gambling on sporting events. The Illegal Gambling Business Act prohibits financial transaction providers from accepting funds for illegal Internet bets. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) prohibits receiving and transmitting bets over the Internet.

The UIGEA also contains several other interesting provisions, including a requirement for financial transaction providers to provide a security protocol that is appropriate to the transaction. The law also prohibits using financial instruments that are issued by an illegal Internet bet.

The Travel Act also prohibits facilitating unlawful gambling, as well as money laundering. A gambling business may have five or more owners or managers. The gambling business may have gross revenues of $2000 or more on a single day. A gambling business may also have a location verification system in place.

The UIMS (Unlawful Internet Gambling Monitoring System) is a centralized database used to monitor Internet gambling. It also includes appropriate data security standards. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authority over common carriers, as well as leasing, furnishing, and maintaining facilities. If the FCC determines that gambling is being conducted on its network, it may halt providing such facilities.