Federal Law and Online Gambling
Several federal statutes have been used to prosecute illegal Internet gambling. The Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Travel Act all prohibit the unlawful conduct of gambling on any sporting events, interstate commerce and/or over the internet. Several other federal statutes have been cited in court cases as well. The following is a brief overview of some of these laws.
The most notable of the federal gambling laws is the Illegal Gambling Business Act, which makes it illegal for businesses to provide gambling services. Another interesting statute is the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (also known as the Johnson Act) which prohibits the transport of gambling devices within the United States. This act has also been used in the enforcement of state gambling laws. The same act also prohibits the transportation of wagering devices to state jurisdictions.
The United States has also used the law to its advantage in its pursuit of foreign illegal gambling operators. The government has used the power of the purse to seize millions of dollars from the likes of Discovery Communications and PayPal. The government has also warned these companies that they may have to face criminal charges if they continue to transact business with customers in violation of the law. The government has also used the power of the purse to make some goodwill gestures to these companies. In addition, the federal government has enacted a set of measures to prevent fraudulent transactions by these companies. This includes requiring them to adopt appropriate data security measures.
In the field of online gambling, the most important fact is that federal law reinforces state laws in some cases. For example, the Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers and the FCC may decide to terminate or discontinue providing facilities to certain companies. The law also allows the FCC to fine companies for improperly obtaining customer information or maintaining improper security measures. In addition, the Federal Government has the power to shut down facilities if deemed necessary for national security reasons. Several states have also expressed concern about the possibility of Internet-based gambling bringing illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. The question of whether these jurisdictions should be able to enforce their laws against Internet gambling operators is still an open question.
The law has also been criticized on constitutional grounds. The most important question is whether the government has the constitutional authority to enforce these laws. The Commerce Clause has been invoked to raise questions about the ability of the federal government to legislate on the matter. Nevertheless, the commercial nature of the gambling business may be sufficient to satisfy the constitutional doubts. The question of whether federal law has the power to enact the rules on these matters has been a sticking point for some state officials. Ultimately, the best strategy for state officials is to remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent illegal gambling from taking place on the Internet. If the government is unable or unwilling to do so, state officials have the power to take legal action against the offending parties.