Several federal criminal statutes have been used to prosecute illegal Internet gambling. The most common ones include the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the Wire Act, and the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (GDOTA). There have also been a few cases that have been raised on constitutional grounds.
A number of state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. However, in these cases, federal law has reinforced state law.
The UIGEA, or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is one such statute. The Act prohibits financial institutions from accepting payment for Internet gambling or from facilitating illegal gambling transactions. In addition, the Act imposes criminal penalties on owners of illegal gambling enterprises. In particular, they can be imprisoned for up to five years. In December of 2002, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would be bringing criminal charges against Internet poker operators under the IGBA.
The Travel Act, also known as the Interstate Commerce Commission Act, is another example of a federal law that is relevant to illegal Internet gambling. It prohibits the promotion of illegal gambling and money laundering. In addition, the Act can be used to enforce an existing federal law that prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events.
The most important part of the Travel Act is that it allows federal law enforcement to seize assets related to gambling. In the case of Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rican casino operation, the U.S. marshals seized $3.2 million from Discovery Communications, which accepted advertisements from Tropical Paradise.