Federal Laws Related to Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Several federal laws apply to online gambling, including the Wire Act. In 1996, 15 websites were operating on the Internet. By 1997, there were over 200. Multiplayer online gambling was added in 1999, allowing users to interact with each other. By 2001, eight million people were gambling online. By 2008, revenues from online gambling had reached $21 billion. By 2015, the global gambling market was worth $400 billion. More than three-quarters of that revenue came from online casinos.

Under these laws, anyone operating an illegal gambling business may be fined or imprisoned. In order to be liable, a person must have a substantial and continuous operation for thirty days and gross revenues of at least $2,000. In some states, the laws apply to gambling online. However, there are exceptions to these regulations.

Section 1956 defines several separate crimes: money laundering for illicit purposes, laundering to avoid taxes, conceal and disguise, and money laundering for law enforcement stings. However, there are several constitutional objections to the federal government prosecuting online gambling. These concerns have resulted in questions regarding the first amendment and legislative power under the Commerce Clause.

There are a number of federal laws related to online gambling. Among them are the Lopez Amendment, which regulates commercial activity, but also contains elements designed to weed out low-level gambling.

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