In the United States, there are a few states that have banned online gambling. However, there are states that allow gambling on the internet if the activity is in accordance with the law. The laws on internet gambling cover betting on the virtual casinos or placing bets online with a bookie. There are several federal laws on gambling that prevent such activities in states that outlaw them.
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA outlaws certain activities associated with online gambling. It prohibits those who engage in the gambling business from accepting payments. The payments mentioned here refer to the ones coming from online gambling that’s unlawful. Violations can attract imprisonment up to five years.
It may also lead to imposition of a hefty fine on the violator. The act has not defined the business of betting or wagering, but it certainly defines what it is not. A business involved in betting or wagering can only be prosecuted if it participates in unlawful online gambling.
Illegal Gambling Business Act
This act applies to anyone managing, financing, supervising, directing, or owning any part of an illegal gambling business. Such individuals or businesses may violate laws of a political sub-division or a state where they conduct their activities. The Illegal Gambling Business Act may also apply to offshore gambling operations taking wagers from bettors in the United States.
This requires the fulfilling of certain conditions. They mostly have a connection with the state laws and the Congress.
The Wire Act
Generally, the Wire Act covers those in the business of gambling. The act outlaws the ones in this business who use interstate telephone facilities for transmitting bets. It also outlaws those in the gambling business who use interstate telephone facilities for transmitting information associated with gambling.
Offenders have to face imprisonment for up to two years. Additionally, imposition of a hefty fine may also follow. When one compares this to the other federal gambling statutes, the act has been used more sparingly. This is why it lacks certain interpretative benefits and can’t be useful for prosecuting simple bettors.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
The provisions of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations or RICO may apply in case of illegal gambling. Violations of the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and Illegal Gambling Business Act are RICO predicate offenses. The RICO violators are subject to imprisonment of up to twenty years. Additionally, they may also have to pay a hefty fine. The property used for the conducting the criminal activities might also be confiscated. The one committing a RICO offense need not be a human. The offender can also be an entity, such as a partnership or corporation.
The elements of this act cover those who travel in inter-state or foreign commerce. Using a facility in inter-state or foreign commerce to distribute the proceeds of business involving gambling violates the act. The Travel Act might serve as the basis for prosecution under the statutes of RICO and money laundering.
The Supreme Court once determined that this act is not applicable to ordinary customers of an illegal gambling business. It might cover inter-state solicitation of such customers.