Using the Internet for illegal gambling is a crime, at least according to the U.S. Attorney General. The UIGEA prohibits a plethora of activities, including receiving, transmitting, or using financial instruments relating to illegal Internet gambling. In addition to the UIGEA, there are several other federal statutes that make illegal Internet gambling a crime. These include the Wire Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. In addition, there are several state laws that make gambling illegal. While the federal government has taken steps to enforce these laws, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could make it easier to get illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
The most basic definition of gambling is to bet on something, including sporting events, horse races, or poker games. In addition to wagers, the act of displaying the winnings or losings of a bet is a gambling activity, as is the act of sending or receiving information from a gambling site via the Internet. A gambling site is defined as one that conducts lotteries, lotto games, pool-selling, or slot machine games. The act of displaying a winning or losing bet on a betting site is also a gambling activity in New York State, as are the act of transmitting information from New York to the Internet.
The most effective way to enforce federal laws against illegal Internet gambling is to enact state laws against the same crimes. A recent example of this was the indictment of K23 Group Financial Services, a company that operated an Internet poker business. In addition to charges of money laundering and operating an illegal gambling website, the company was charged with violating the UIGEA, as well as 18 U.S.C. 1955. In addition, K23 Group was found to have misled investors by claiming that it was a licensed Internet poker operator. In addition to the legal ramifications of this case, it sparked a discussion about what constitutes illegal Internet gambling, and whether or not it is even legal to offer online gambling services in the first place.
Various state governments have introduced measures to stop the illegal Internet gambling trade, including a measure to require online gambling providers to pay fees to state governments and to make it more difficult to set up an online gambling site in the first place. The state of Florida recently passed a law that makes it illegal for any website to accept financial instruments for the purposes of internet gambling. While this law is unlikely to lead to any major changes in the Internet gambling industry, it may provide a significant deterrent to online operators.
There are numerous federal laws that are in place to prosecute illegal Internet gambling, including the Wire Act, the Racketeer Influenced or Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. These laws have been challenged in court on a variety of constitutional grounds, including questions of whether they can be enforced by the Federal government. Although there have been many legal challenges to these laws, most have been defeated.