Various laws are in place to prevent the proliferation of illegal Internet gambling. These include the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Gambling Devices Transportation Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has authority over common carriers and has been charged with enforcement of the Travel Act.
The Wire Act prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events. In addition, the Travel Act prohibits promotion of unlawful gambling, facilitation of unlawful gambling, and money laundering. The Travel Act also prohibits the promotion or facilitation of foreign gambling.
The first online gambling venue for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. The owners of the Lottery agreed to a $3 million public service campaign. The site had approximately $2000 in gross revenues, and the site was operated by five people on a single day. The owners were charged with money laundering and violations of the UIGEA.
The Illegal Gambling Business Act charges owners of illegal gambling businesses with having gross revenues of at least $2,000 in a single day. They are also required to have a substantial, continuous operation for at least thirty days. They are also required to have appropriate data security standards and to use appropriate methods to verify the age of the person using the service.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) charges owners of illegal gambling businesses with violating the UIGEA by accepting financial instruments for illegal Internet bets. In addition, the owners of these businesses are subject to up to five years in prison.