Thousands of people across the country access online casinos and gambling websites daily. Whether these people are simply seeking some entertainment or a big cash payoff, they are dabbling in an activity that is potentially unlawful. To date, the laws and regulations regarding illegal online gambling remain unclear in most jurisdictions. Although current federal law states that Internet gambling, as well as its promotion, is unlawful at all levels, the specific wording of the law leaves room for interpretation. People who engage in online gambling can protect themselves by gaining some knowledge about the laws governing the games that they play.
Laws That Govern Internet Gambling
There are some federal guidelines in place that are sometimes used to prosecute people who engage in online gambling. The primary guideline used in such prosecution is known as the Wire Wager Act. However, this particular law applies primarily to online bets and wagers placed on sporting events. Some of the other legal doctrines used to enforce restrictions against Internet gambling include:
- The Illegal Gambling Business Act: Criminalizes major gambling operations that benefit organized crimes
- The Interstate Transportation of Wagering Paraphernalia Act: Prevents the interstate distribution of materials and devices that make illegal gambling possible
- The Travel Act: Prohibits using the U.S. mail system and interstate roads to commit criminal acts
One of the most stringent laws against online gambling was passed in 2006. This law is known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. As with many laws pertaining to unlawful Internet gambling, this law seeks only to prohibit bets and wagers that are made on an illegal basis. That is to say, this statute prosecutes gambling activities that are illegal in traditional venues, as well as in Internet situations. As such, this piece of legislation should never be disregarded by people who wish to engage in Internet gambling.
Prosecution by State Agents
Not only does the federal government prosecute illegal Internet gambling cases, state governments also sometimes press charges against unlawful Internet gambling operations. Although these cases generally involve the hosts or operators of Internet casinos or gambling websites, individual players can be targeted as well. Players face an increased level of complexity with these proceedings because each state can have vastly different laws and statutes regarding wagers placed on the Internet. Some states focus on the prizes offered by illegal Internet gambling venues, while other states place their attention on the amount of money being exchanged. No matter what state a player lives in, a consultation with an unlawful Internet gambling attorney is always a wise decision.
Because the advent of Internet gambling websites, and the laws that concern them, is relatively new, it is prudent for online gamblers to become familiar with any and all laws that may affect them. It is better to prepare for any possible legal situation before Internet gambling is undertaken. To learn more about illegal Internet gambling, have a talk with James Alston.