Various federal criminal statutes are implicated when it comes to illegal online gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the UIGEA, and the RICO Act. While these laws are federal in nature, state law is largely responsible for enforcement. State officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
The Travel Act is another law that is pertinent to online gambling. This statute prohibits money laundering and the promotion of illegal gambling in interstate or foreign commerce. It is also important to note that the Travel Act applies to gambling facilities that are located outside of the United States.
There are several notable exceptions to the Travel Act. However, this statute has been a target of several attacks on constitutional grounds. It is a well-known fact that the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, but questions about the federal government’s authority to do so have been raised.
The Travel Act has also been used to prosecute those who promote illegal gambling. Its jurisdiction can be established by reference to an interstate or foreign nexus to the distribution of gambling proceeds. For example, shipments in interstate commerce, debts resulting from gambling, and the telecommunications component of the Internet may all be used to establish jurisdiction.
However, the Travel Act does not prohibit the use of the Internet to conduct illegal gambling. In fact, the most successful attacks have not come from based on the Commerce Clause, but rather on the guarantee of free speech in the First Amendment.