Online Gambling – Federal Statutes Implicated in Online Gambling Cases
Getting the right information on online gambling can help you to stay safe and enjoy yourself. However, there are also plenty of pitfalls and risks that can be associated with online gambling. These include the possibility of being deceived or losing your money, as well as becoming addicted to gambling and experiencing financial ruin.
There are many federal criminal statutes that can be implicated in cases of illegal gambling on the Internet. These statutes include the Wire Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Gambling Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. These statutes are designed to prevent illegal gambling business activities and have been used to impose fines and penalties on those engaged in these activities.
The UIGEA aims to prevent online gambling businesses from accepting payment for any online gambling activity. This is particularly problematic for banks because it can mean that online gambling transactions are supervised by financial institutions and that the banks may refuse to process transactions in certain countries. In addition, the Wire Act prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events.
There are also issues relating to the federal Commerce Clause, which has been a focal point in recent attacks on federal gambling laws. While attacks based on the Commerce Clause have had some success, those based on the First Amendment guarantee of free speech have had little success. However, the commercial nature of gambling businesses appears to satisfy the Commerce Clause’s concerns. The Lopez Amendment, which was enacted by Congress, contains elements to weed out low-level gambling cases.
Other statutes that can be used in prosecutions of illegal Internet gambling are the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s authority over common carriers and its ability to stop the furnishing and maintenance of facilities, as well as state and local laws that make it illegal to offer any kind of gambling. The Travel Act also prohibits the offering of illegal gambling on interstate commerce.
The First Amendment, however, has been used in recent cases to raise questions about the federal government’s authority to enact and enforce gambling laws. The Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, for instance, discusses the issue of players using interstate facilities for illegal gambling activities.
A number of state officials have expressed concern that Internet gambling could be used to introduce illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This concern was evident in a federal marshal’s seizure of $3.2 million from Discovery Communications, which aired ads from the Tropical Paradise casino operation in Costa Rica. In another case, the Attorney General prohibited PayPal from accepting financial instruments from illegal Internet bets.
These laws are very difficult to enforce, which means that online gamblers should not expect to be able to avoid penalties. In addition, a number of states have a higher minimum age for gambling than others. The age limit in New Jersey, for example, is 21. However, it is also likely that this age restriction is based on the sale of alcohol.