There is no denying that online gambling has grown dramatically in the last five years. The technology used in the industry is becoming more sophisticated and the games offered are more creative and exciting. Online gambling offers traditional casino games as well as live casino games where you can play against a live dealer. You can also choose from a wide variety of virtual poker, sports betting and slots. But before you begin playing, it’s important to understand what types of gambling are legal and illegal.
The legality of online gambling is based largely on state laws. However, federal law is applicable as well, especially with respect to criminal offenses. In addition, the law includes Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. These laws impose penalties for illegal gambling business activities.
Unlawful Internet gambling is defined in the 31 U.S.C. 5362(10). This statute states that unlawful Internet gambling is characterized as the act of placing or receiving bets, except that it does not include wagers placed by a consumer or wagers on a sporting event. It also defines unlawful Internet gambling as occurring exclusively within a single state. Other crimes associated with illegal Internet gambling involve the Wire Act, which makes it a federal crime to place bets on a contest, as well as the Interstate Commerce Clause, which prohibits interstate gambling.
Under the Illegal Gambling Business Act, it is also a crime to engage in any activity that is in violation of a state’s gambling laws. Additionally, it is also a crime to use any financial instrument, device, or facility to facilitate illegal Internet bets.
There have been a number of criminal investigations into the illegality of online gambling. Two notable cases were United States v. K23 Group Financial Services and United States v. Nicolaou. Both involved the gross revenues of approximately $2,000 and involved the acts of five individuals at all times over a thirty-day period.
As for the constitutional objections, attacks have been made based on the Due Process Clause, which protects freedom of speech. However, such attacks have not been successful. Despite the fact that the Commercial Activity Clause seems to address the issue, due process arguments do not seem to be able to overcome the fact that the transactions involved are within the United States.
Although state and federal law provide a framework for the prosecution of criminal charges for illegal online gambling, the legality of the activity is still uncertain. The issue is complicated by the fact that the Internet has a large amount of potential for interstate or foreign elements to frustrate state enforcement policies.
The question of how to deal with such an issue has sparked a great deal of debate. A December 2002 report published by the Congressional Research Service, Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues, noted that state officials had expressed concerns that the internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Also, questions about the legislative power of the United States Government to regulate the Internet have been raised.