Federal Statutes Implicated by Online Gambling
Several federal criminal statutes are implicated by illegal gambling on the internet. These statutes include the Wire Act, which prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act, which punishes those who operate illegal gambling businesses.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act requires that a gambling business operate for at least two days and have gross revenues of at least $2,000. Owners of an illegal gambling business may be fined or imprisoned for five years. They also cannot accept financial instruments from illegal Internet bets. The owners of an illegal gambling business can also be charged with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions of this title.
A gambling business can also be charged with violating Section 1956 of the Federal Criminal Code, which prohibits money laundering from illegal gambling proceeds. Section 1956 creates several distinct crimes, including laundering with intent to promote illicit activity, laundering to conceal or disguise the source of money, and laundering to evade taxes.
The Travel Act also prohibits gambling, money laundering, and the facilitation of unlawful gambling on interstate commerce. This act’s jurisdiction can be based on the nexus of a gambling business’s operations with an interstate or foreign destination. This can be established by reference to the shipments of gambling goods, the telecommunications component of the Internet, or the payment of gambling debts.
The Federal Communications Commission also has jurisdiction over the furnishing, leasing, and operation of facilities for the provision of telecommunications services. It can also discontinue these facilities.