Online Gambling is a growing industry. While the laws for gambling on the internet vary, the federal government has stepped in to help ensure that states protect their citizens from being defrauded. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has published a report in December 2002 titled, “Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues.”
The United States has passed laws against Internet gambling. However, the current legal climate is a challenge to federal gambling laws. In particular, Internet poker operators have been targeted for violations of the law, especially the UIGEA. A recent criminal case against Sporting News involved illegal Internet gambling, which led to the publication being fined $4.2 million and being forced to run a $3 million public-service campaign.
The federal government has a comprehensive law against Internet gambling. Federal law defines Internet gambling as any activity that involves placing, receiving, or transmitting bets over the internet. The Act also prohibits gambling that uses interstate commerce. The federal government also prohibits Internet gambling business that is conducted for profit. Online gambling businesses are liable for fines and jail time.
There are a number of different types of unlawful gambling. The most common are those that promote money laundering and promote illicit activities. The Travel Act has several definitions of crimes relating to Internet gambling. For example, the act’s definition of money laundering includes laundering for international purposes, concealing and disguising, and facilitating illegal gambling. These definitions have prompted constitutional challenges of the legislation and the ability to prosecute those who conduct illegal Internet gambling. Moreover, questions have arisen about the scope of the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment.