Using the internet for illegal gambling is illegal under seven federal criminal statutes. These include the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. There are also state laws in many jurisdictions that criminalize the same activities. While federal law reinforces state law in most cases, state officials have expressed concerns that the internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. These concerns have resulted in the formation of the National Gambling Commission, an offshoot of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The best way to combat the proliferation of online gambling is to enact a federal law that makes the problem more difficult to perpetrate. This is particularly true in light of the fact that many Internet companies are not based in the United States, and thus face difficulties in enforcing their own laws. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that regulates the nation’s telephone service, has expressed an interest in regulating online gambling, and has already taken steps to do so. The FCC may consider putting an end to the furnishing and leasing of facilities, or imposing penalties on those who offer gambling services on the Internet. In addition, the FCC may also consider prohibiting the operation of online gambling services in some jurisdictions.
In general, the most important thing to know about online gambling is that it is illegal in most states. This is a fact that has been confirmed by federal prosecutors who have warned PayPal and other companies that they could face prosecution. Some states have even gone so far as to ban Internet gambling altogether, while others are still figuring out how to best police this increasingly lucrative industry. Regardless of the specifics, the online gambling industry is estimated to be worth more than $17 billion annually. In response to these concerns, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in February 2006.
The best way to combat the proliferation of illegal online gambling is to enact a law that makes the problem more difficult to perpetrate. These include the Illegal Gambling Business Amendment, the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, or the Johnson Act. These laws are designed to prevent illegal gambling on sporting events and on interstate commerce. The most important of these laws is the latter, which was passed in 2010. In addition to the law preventing the illegal operation of Internet gambling, the FCC is also considering regulating online gambling services, and the agency has already taken steps to do so.
In addition to the aforementioned laws, there are several other federal statutes enacted to address the illegal gambling epidemic. The most sweeping of these is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which is designed to combat the proliferation of online gambling services by enacting penalties on those who offer gambling services on the internet.