Several federal criminal statutes can be implicated by illegal gambling on the Internet. These statutes include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. Generally, these statutes prohibit illegal gambling business activities, including the conduct of contests or sporting events. While these statutes are generally effective in combating illegal Internet gambling, there have been some constitutional challenges to the enforcement of these statutes. In particular, the First Amendment and Commerce Clause have been raised in some cases. However, these attacks have largely failed to gain traction.
Section 1956 of the Federal Criminal Code creates several crimes, including laundering for international or domestic purposes and laundering with intent to promote illicit activity. These statutes, primarily in conjunction with the Wire Act, have been raised in the courts as potential constitutional objections to the prosecution of illegal Internet gambling. Specifically, there are questions of whether such activities are protected by the First Amendment, due process, and the Commerce Clause.
The first question to address in this case is whether illegal Internet gambling violates the Wire Act. The Wire Act is a federal statute that prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events and contests. It is also the law of the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any other territory or possession of the United States. Although these statutes do not specifically mention online gambling, the Wire Act’s broad definition of illegal gambling has been interpreted to encompass this activity.
The second issue to consider in this case is whether state law is applicable to illegal Internet gambling. This question can be difficult to answer in some cases because the nature of gambling is largely state law. However, in other cases, the state law that governs gambling has been overruled by federal law. Specifically, in a case in Missouri, an indictment was issued against a company that provided information to a bookmaking operation located in New York. In this case, the act of providing information to an Internet bookmaker constitutes gambling activity in New York. The company, PayPal, had been warned by federal prosecutors that it could face prosecution.
The third issue to consider in this case is whether state or federal law should be applied to prohibit the acceptance of financial instruments from an illegal Internet bet. This question is particularly important in light of the fact that federal law has been used to enforce gambling laws in several states. For example, in the United States, an act of entering a bet constitutes gambling activity in New York, regardless of the individual’s home state. In fact, a recent case involving Discovery Communications involves an online gambling operation in Costa Rica called Tropical Paradise. The company’s advertisements were accepted by Discovery Communications, but the operation was seized by the U.S. marshals. Similarly, in an American Banker article, an online gambling transaction was reported to have occurred between an account at PayPal and the account of a New York player. In this case, the United States marshals seized the money.