Using the Internet to gamble illegally is a violation of seven federal criminal statutes. These include the Travel Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Wire Act. The statutes also contain Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.
In addition to the legal issues, state officials are concerned about the potential for internet gambling to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. They have pointed to the recent seizure of $3.2 million from Discovery Communications by U.S. marshals as an example. They also express concerns that illegal Internet gambling is being used by players to break laws in other states. The UIGEA and other related laws have made a difference in cases.
While the Travel Act is not specifically mentioned in the UIGEA, it is a relevant statute. Under the Travel Act, it is illegal to advertise or promote unlawful gambling, and it is also illegal to facilitate unlawful gambling by allowing a person to receive payments for gambling activities that are illegal in other states.
The Travel Act also prohibits money laundering. Money laundering means laundering the proceeds of illegal gambling in order to avoid paying taxes or concealing the illegal activity. There are several types of laundering, such as laundering for international purposes, laundering for law enforcement stings, and laundering with intent to promote illegal activity.
Although the Travel Act is not specific to Internet gambling, it is one of the federal criminal statutes that can be used to prosecute an illegal gambling business. In order to be prosecuted under this title, a gambling business must be in operation for at least two days. Also, the owner must have gross gambling revenue of at least $2,000 per day. If the owner is found guilty, he can be imprisoned for up to five years.