Whether you are playing in an online casino, gambling for real money, or just placing bets, it is important to understand the laws and regulations related to the Internet and the federal government. These laws may vary among states, and state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet can be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Regardless of the laws and regulations, online gambling can be fun, but it can also cause addiction and financial ruin. There are also benefits, but it is still important to exercise caution when using the Internet.
The United States has a number of federal criminal statutes that are implicated by illegal Internet gambling. Specifically, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) charges operators of Internet poker sites with violations of 18 U.S.C. 1955, which is the law that governs money laundering. The statute also includes a carve-out for games of skill. In addition, Section 1956 creates several unique crimes, including laundering to conceal and disguise, and to avoid taxes and promote illicit activity.
The Internet Gaming Regulation, Consumer Protection Act of 2013 would establish a federal standard for the regulation of Internet gambling. The bill would establish a new office within the Treasury Department that would oversee the operation of online gambling, and would make the regulation of such activities easier. It would also create uniform standards to regulate online gambling and make expansion of the industry more efficient. The bill is sponsored by New York Republican Congressman Peter King.
Despite the fact that there are only three states that have legalized online gambling, there are many other states that are considering enacting online gaming legislation. This has led to questions about whether the federal government has the power to regulate such activities, and whether the United States can police the Internet. However, there are arguments that the commercial nature of the gambling industry can satisfy the doubts raised by the Commerce Clause. In addition, the commercial nature of the gambling industry seems to have satisfied the due process objections raised by the First Amendment.
The Fourth Circuit has ruled in favor of the federal government in a case involving illegal Internet gambling. In the case of United States v. Nicolaou, five people placed bets for $2,000, and at least five of these bets were made at all times during a thirty day period.
In the case of K23 Group Financial Services, an Internet poker company was charged with violating the UIGEA, and the United States filed a criminal complaint against the company. The charge involves several violations of the law, but the most significant violation is that the company violated the UIGEA by receiving bets from customers on its website. The court also found that the federal law reinforced the state law in the case.
The CRS Report RS21984 is a Congressional Research Service report on the subject of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which is available in abridged form. The report includes citations to the statutes of individual states, as well as the text of the statutes. Among other things, the report discusses the UIGEA and the Travel Act.