Besides state-level gambling regulations, there are seven federal criminal statutes that are relevant to illegal Internet gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. These laws prohibit illegal gambling on sporting events, on contests, and on the Internet. In addition, the Rackteer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions prohibit illegal gambling business activities.
The Travel Act is probably the most important of the federal gambling statutes, as it prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce. It also prohibits promotion of unlawful gambling and money laundering. It also gives the Federal Communications Commission authority to regulate facilities and telecommunications services.
The Travel Act also has a lesser-known but important requirement, which is that the business in question must be operated by five or more individuals. These individuals may be owners, managers, or agents. They may also be the financial backers of the gambling business.
A related law is the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, or the Johnson Act. It is similar to the Travel Act in that it prohibits illegal gambling on the Internet. However, unlike the Travel Act, the Johnson Act is not limited to sports gambling.
Another law relates to remote gaming, which is a gambling concept that enables players to place bets on a computer from another location. Some sites allow bettors to play games like poker, blackjack, and slots. Others, such as Ignition, offer virtual sports betting.
The First Amendment has been used to challenge the enforcement of federal gambling laws. The First Amendment has been criticized for its limited protection for crime facilitating speech. However, this is not always a tough proposition. Some state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This could complicate their enforcement policies.