Federal Law and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Gambling is an activity that involves betting money on a variety of sports. It can also involve conducting lotteries and pool-selling. Some of the most common forms of gambling are casinos, horse racing, and poker.

In the United States, illegal Internet gambling is illegal under seven federal criminal statutes. These statutes include the Wire Act, which prohibits illegal gambling on contests, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act, which punishes illegal Internet gambling businesses. The owner of an illegal gambling business can be imprisoned for up to five years, and he or she must have a gross revenue of more than $2,000 on a single day.

In addition, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. While the presence of an interstate element may frustrate the enforcement policies of state law, federal law reinforces the states’ authority.

Although the Commerce Clause has been attacked on constitutional grounds, attacks based on the First Amendment guarantee of free speech have not enjoyed much success. One of the key considerations in the case is whether the legislature has the power to proscribe gambling on a federal level.

Because gambling is primarily a matter of state law, the courts have been hesitant to decide on these issues. However, the commercial nature of gambling has been deemed sufficient to satisfy the doubts.

In addition, several other federal criminal statutes are implicated by illegal Internet gambling. They include the Illegal Gambling Business Act and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.