Unlike the traditional casino games that are based on pure chance, online gambling involves a high-speed, instant gratification experience. Many players find the thrill of online gambling sweeps them away from setting limits and into a world of excitement. Nonetheless, this activity is not free from the law, as several federal criminal statutes can be cited.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) is one of the federal criminal statutes that can be used to prosecute illegal Internet gambling. It defines unlawful Internet gambling as using the Internet or part of the Internet to receive bets, place bets, or conduct other gambling activities. The statute also prohibits owners of an illegal Internet gambling business from accepting payment for the illegal gambling activity. The statute also imposes a fine of up to five years for the illegal gambling business.
The Wire Act is another federal criminal statute that prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events. In addition, the Travel Act prohibits illegal gambling in interstate commerce. These laws reinforce each other in cases where one law is violated. The OGRA, which is commonly abbreviated to OGRA, was passed in 2001 to regulate the online gambling industry. It contains sections relating to age verification, location verification, and appropriate data security standards.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions also prohibit illegal gambling business activities. A gambling business owner must have a gross revenue of at least $2000 per day for at least thirty days in order to be convicted under this title. The statute also imposes a limit on the number of bets that can be placed at one time. In addition, the statute prohibits spending more than $10,000 in illegal gambling proceeds at one time.
The Commerce Clause has been raised as a possible defense against the prosecution of illegal Internet gambling. However, attacks based on the Clause have not been successful. In addition, questions about legislative power under the Commerce Clause have also been raised. These questions involve whether the commercial nature of the gambling business is sufficient to satisfy the constitutional concerns.
The Fifth Amendment guarantees free speech, but that protection does not extend to facilitating illegal gambling. However, the Commerce Clause seems to be satisfied if the gambling activity is conducted in the home. This fact is particularly compelling because of the perceived necessity of the gambling activity.
Another issue that has been raised is whether the Commerce Clause is sufficient to justify the criminalization of illegal Internet gambling. Section 1956 has been used to create several distinct crimes, including laundering for international purposes, laundering to conceal, and laundering with intent to promote illicit activity. The statute also includes the use of launderers for law enforcement stings.
Some states have taken steps to regulate gambling, including placing limits on advertising that targets vulnerable persons. In addition, players may register for self-exclusion programs that help limit gambling. This is not only to protect players, but to prevent gambling from becoming out of control.