Using the Internet for gambling is not legal in the United States. In fact, there are seven federal criminal statutes that have been cited in cases regarding illegal Internet gambling.
The aforementioned enumerated federal criminal statutes are: the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Federal Gambling statute, the Federal Wire and Wire Communications Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute. These statutes together cover a plethora of online gambling activities.
The aforementioned enumerated statutes were not the only federal criminal statutes to make the news in 2012. In addition to the aforementioned statutes, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body of common carriers in the U.S. It has jurisdiction over the leasing, furnishing, and operating of facilities.
In this particular case, the FCC took the aforementioned enumerated federal statutes and the corresponding Congressional findings on the impact of those statutes and applied them to the FCC’s jurisdiction over common carriers. The result was a fine of $3 million plus the launch of a public service campaign to discourage the use of the Internet for illegal gambling.
The aforementioned enumerated laws are a good starting point for a comprehensive list of federal criminal statutes that have been cited as part of the legal analysis of illegal Internet gambling. There are also some interesting state-level gambling statutes, such as the California Internet Gambling Act, that have received the attention of the media.