The Internet Is No Place For Illegal Gambling
Among the various federal laws and regulations implicated by illegal Internet gambling are the Travel Act, the Wire Act, the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. However, the federal government is not the only one with an interest in Internet gambling. Many state governments have been concerned that the Internet could be used to facilitate illegal gambling within their borders. And while the federal government has taken action against such activities, the state of the Internet and its associated technologies can have a chilling effect on state enforcement efforts.
In addition to state and federal laws, several technological innovations have spawned new and exciting legal challenges. Some of the better known examples include the Internet’s ability to facilitate remote gaming, the advent of secure communication technologies, and the development of artificial intelligence. Combined, these innovations are bringing new life to an old practice that has seen its fair share of misguided and ineffective regulation. In short, the Internet is no place for illegal gambling.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authority over common carriers and cable providers. These entities are subject to a variety of regulations – most notably, the rules governing how the public may use the facilities. In addition, the FCC may also revoke the licenses of such facilities. Similarly, the FCC may ban the leasing of facilities, the furnishing of services, and even the provision of equipment.
The FCC’s jurisdiction also extends to the realm of wireless communications, including mobile phones. The aforementioned mobile phone enables one to make and receive calls, as well as access the Internet and send text messages. And the most interesting part is that the FCC may also ban the use of wireless phones in certain circumstances, such as during interstate travel. In addition, the FCC may levy fines on wireless telephone providers if they fail to make reasonable efforts to prevent misuse of the services.
The FCC also issued an order requiring providers of wireless Internet services to install the latest in data security technology. This includes the aptly named “Internet Security Protection” (ISP) and “Internet Security Management” (ISM) standards, which are the first of their kind in the United States. Similarly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may revoke the licenses of any common carriers that fail to comply with the FCC’s rules. And while the FCC has not yet come down on the side of the book, federal prosecutors have warned PayPal that they could be the next target.
While there are many other laws and regulations affecting the online gambling business, the aforementioned ones have garnered the most attention from federal prosecutors. However, the UIGEA and its companion statute, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, have the potential to disrupt the flow of commerce as well. In addition, the use of the Internet to facilitate illegal Internet gambling is not only technically illegal, but can be considered a form of theft under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Thus, the federal government and state attorneys general have been on high alert for the past few years.