Online gambling has become a popular way to engage in betting and gaming. People can place bets on the outcome of sporting events, or can play virtual poker. This form of gambling is increasingly becoming more popular due to technological advances.
The United States has a number of federal criminal statutes which are implicated by illegal Internet gambling. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Travel Act. However, these statutes do not necessarily trump state laws, and in some cases they have been used to reinforce state law.
Section 1956 of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act defines laundering as the practice of converting proceeds from a commercial activity to disguise or evade tax. It also creates several distinct crimes, including laundering with intent to promote or facilitate illicit activities.
The act of transmitting information from New York via the Internet to a gambling website in Florida constitutes gambling activity in New York State. That is, an action that results in the transmission of bets to the gambling site from at least five people at all times on a single day.
Another federal criminal statute, the Travel Act, applies to players who make use of interstate facilities to engage in gambling or other unlawful activities. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to cease providing facilities and/or leasing such facilities to any user.
While the Commerce Clause has long been debated, attacks have rarely succeeded. The fact that the business of gambling is mostly conducted in the United States seems to suffice.