Several federal criminal statutes have been cited as a basis for prosecution. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. While state enforcement can be impeded by interstate or foreign elements, federal law is a strong counterweight in the enforcing a few of the more egregious state laws.
The Liechtenstein International Lottery was the first commercially viable online gambling venue for the general public, but it wasn’t until recently that the internet became a legitimate medium for bringing people together for gambling purposes. For the most part, state officials have expressed a level of interest in the internet’s potential for bringing illegal gambling to their jurisdictions. The fact that it is a legal medium in some states hasn’t diminished the desire for states to implement laws that prohibit this activity.
In particular, the most important legal question to answer is whether the federal government can enforce state gambling laws on the Internet. While the answer may not be clear cut, the Federal Communications Commission is in the business of providing communications services to the public. While the FCC may be unable to compel operators to comply with state gambling laws, it can slap an infringement fine on those attempting to skirt the law in the online gambling arena. Those whose infringements are unresolved may face up to five years in prison. The FCC may even discontinue leasing and furnishing of such facilities. This has a number of practical and legal implications, particularly in light of recent federal court rulings.
The most notable federally legalized gambling activity, the Internet gambling industry, is estimated to cost the United States a cool trillion dollars in lost taxes over the next five years. While not as flashy as some of its more glamorous cousins, the Internet gambling industry remains a thriving sector in the US, and has made its presence known through the enactment of new gambling laws and regulatory regimes. Whether it will be a lucrative industry for the US is another matter entirely. As with any industry, there are pitfalls to be avoided, but in the long run the internet has become a viable medium for gambling and gaming. The best way to deal with it is to make the most of the opportunities it presents, while also doing your part to uphold the country’s legal and ethical code. Hopefully the next decade will see a renewed effort to make the Internet a safe and secure place to gamble and play. Until then, keep your fingers crossed! The best of luck! You can find more information about the Internet gambling industry on the FCC’s web site. The agency has a lot of useful information to offer on a variety of topics. If you’re considering a move to the Internet, contact the FCC before you make the leap. We’re here to help. Our website has a wealth of information on all facets of the industry, including news, laws, regulations, and trends.