With the advent of the Internet, online gambling has become increasingly popular. Online casinos offer players a wide range of games to play. These include casino games, sports betting, and virtual poker. Some casinos even offer live dealers to play with.
Despite the widespread availability of Internet gambling, it remains a legal issue. States are concerned about the ability of the Internet to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. In some cases, state law stymies the enforcement of federal gambling statutes.
There are a number of federal criminal statutes that are implicated by unlawful Internet gambling. This article will discuss those statutes, as well as some of the challenges that are arising from their use.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006. UIGEA prohibits financial transaction providers from accepting financial instruments from individuals involved in unlawful Internet bets. It also establishes data security standards for Internet casinos and other Internet gambling sites.
In the UIGEA case, K23 Group Financial Services is charged with violating 18 U.S.C. 1955. The company is accused of money laundering and using its website to illegally advertise its poker operation.
Although the government has been able to charge several individuals in connection with this case, the company has been adamant that it has not done anything wrong. It is currently awaiting trial.
While the UIGEA has a commercial nature, it has raised a number of constitutional issues, especially the Commerce Clause. Section 1956 raises the question of whether the Constitution allows a government to prosecute gambling businesses for conducting interstate transactions.