Various state and federal law enforcement agencies are examining the question of how to best handle illegal online gambling. In some cases, federal law may override state law. In others, the best way to enforce federal laws may be to simply strengthen state laws. These issues have been the subject of several legal studies, as well as legal briefs.
Several court cases have examined the legality of various gambling related activities. One of these cases involved a Costa Rican casino called Tropical Paradise. Another case involved the illegality of an internet poker operation called PokerStars. In both cases, federal marshals confiscated the assets of the defendants. In addition to the monetary penalties, the government announced that they would launch a public service campaign aimed at convincing the public that internet poker is illegal.
Despite the fact that state and federal law are in full force against illegal internet gambling, there is a lot of confusion as to what the best practices should be. This is due in large part to the fact that there are various laws on the books. In fact, there are seven federal criminal statutes that are implicated.
The simplest way to define an illegal internet gambling operation is to say that it is a business where the customer places a bet over the internet or receives one. In most cases, this would involve placing a bet using an internet gambling site. However, in other cases, it might involve placing a bet from a bank account or other financial service provider. This is where the UIGEA comes into play. The UIGEA is a federal law that prohibits the illegal acceptance of financial instruments from an illegal Internet bet.
Several other federal statutes have also been implicated. For example, the Wire Act prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events. The Travel Act also prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce. There is a corresponding statute, the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, aka the Johnson Act, that makes it a crime to transport gambling devices. This statute has been a bit of a contentious topic, and it has prompted a number of lawsuits. Some have been dismissed, while others have been successful. Other laws include the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, which prohibit illegal gambling businesses.
While the legality of gambling in the home does not qualify as a free speech issue, it does not carry the same constitutional weight. Gambling in the home is also not protected by the privacy statute, nor is it protected by the right to be free from unsolicited intrusion.
The most important question to answer is how to best balance the competing interests of law enforcement and the public. This is a tricky question, given that the government has a clear interest in preventing illegal internet gambling, and state officials have expressed their concern that an internet gambling operation will migrate to their jurisdictions. In addition, many state laws involve interstate or foreign elements that can make it tough for the state to enforce its laws.