While most of us think of casinos and sportsbooks when we consider gambling, there is more to online gambling than that. In fact, it can include everything from virtual poker to pool-selling. It has even been known to involve bookmaking, which is the process of creating and selling a betting product.
Although state laws regarding gambling are the main focus, federal laws do also play a role. For example, the Travel Act prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce. Another is the Wire Act, which bans illegal gambling on sporting events. Aside from these federal statutes, there are several more that apply to online gambling, such as the Illegal Gambling Business Act.
These laws are used to stop and prosecute activities that violate them. In general, it is illegal to use the internet for gambling, and the act of transmitting information from New York to the United States via the internet constitutes gambling activity in New York State. The law also applies to Internet casinos, which are facilities that allow players to gamble from one state to another.
In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers. It can halt the furnishing of facilities to the public or discontinue the lease of such facilities. This, in turn, can limit the number of people who can engage in illegal Internet gambling.
While the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to enforce the Communications Act seems to be limited, its power under the Commerce Clause has raised some question. Specifically, it has been challenged by a number of different arguments, including a First Amendment argument based on the guarantee of free speech. However, so far, these attacks have been largely unsuccessful.
On the other hand, UIGEA contains factors that can be used to distinguish between low level and more serious gambling cases. Those factors include the nature of the business and its impact on interstate commerce. They also include Congressional findings on the matter.
In addition to the Travel and Communications Acts, there are a number of federal criminal statutes that are directly implicated by illegal Internet gambling. Some of these include the Wire Act, which prohibits gambling on sporting events; the Wire Act itself, which makes it illegal to transmit bets over the internet; and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, which make it unlawful to engage in any gambling business activity that is illegal in other parts of the country.
Although the law may appear to be ambiguous, a number of legal experts have weighed in on the issue. Most agree that the Commerce Clause is insufficient to prohibit illegal gambling, but that the commercial nature of the business may help to overcome those doubts. Even if the Commerce Clause cannot be used to justify the legality of online gambling, the fact that it is illegal has already stymied enforcement efforts.
Nonetheless, a number of states have adopted gambling laws, and in some cases, have begun to crack down on those who engage in illegal online gambling. As with the federal law, state officials have expressed concern that the internet can be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdiction.