Internet gambling is a term used to describe the act of receiving or placing bets or wagers online. These bets or wagers are made in an online casino, virtual poker room, or sports betting site. Online casinos offer a wide variety of games. Some sites have bingo rooms, live dealer casinos, and sports betting. In addition, many of these sites give new players free money to try their services.
The United States Government has a number of federal statutes that may be implicated by illegal internet gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.
Federal law and state law reinforce each other in cases like this. For instance, the State of New York is considered to have jurisdiction over an act of transmitting information from New York via the Internet, which is deemed to constitute gambling activity. However, because an interstate element is present, the enforcement policies of state law are challenged.
Because of the commercial nature of the gambling business, questions have been raised as to whether the Commerce Clause allows the government to regulate these activities in part overseas. On the other hand, a constitutional objection based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech has enjoyed little success.
Among the federal criminal statutes that have been implicated in the legalization of Internet gambling are the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Travel Act, the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.