Generally speaking, Internet gambling is the act of placing bets or receiving bets via the Internet. It may include sports betting, casinos, casinos online, virtual poker, virtual casinos, lotteries, poker, bingo, and many other forms of wagering. It is illegal under the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act.
There are seven federal criminal statutes that may be implicated in illegal Internet gambling. These statutes include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. Each of these laws has its own jurisdiction and requires evidence to establish an offense.
The Travel Act prohibits promotion or facilitation of unlawful gambling and prohibits the distribution of illegal gambling proceeds to individuals. It also provides a fine of up to $4 million.
The Travel Act also prohibits the facilitation of money laundering. Its jurisdiction can be based on an interstate or foreign nexus to gambling debts, shipments in interstate or foreign commerce, or the promotion of unlawful gambling. The Federal Communications Commission also has jurisdiction over common carriers. The agency has the power to discontinue the furnishing of facilities, the leasing of facilities, or the renting of facilities.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act prohibits the acceptance of financial instruments in payment for illegal Internet gambling. This statute is applicable to both in-person and Internet gambling. It also requires that gambling businesses be operated for at least two days per week. Illegal Internet gambling is defined as receiving bets, transmitting bets, or using at least part of the Internet.