In most states, gambling is regulated by both state and federal laws. While state laws vary from state to state, federal laws apply in every state.
What Aspects of Gambling Does Federal Law Regulate?
Federal law reaches into nearly every type of gambling and has some influence on nearly every aspect. Federal law attempts to cover the gaps in gambling law that cannot be covered by state law. Some of the common areas regulated by federal law include:
- The transportation and possession of gambling devices and paraphernalia across state lines
- Sports betting in states different than the state in which the game is held
- How and where bets can be made
- Internet gambling (to some degree)
What Are Some of the Federal Laws That Relate Gambling?
Gambling laws have been shaped according to acts passed over the years by Congress. These Acts regulate certain aspects of gambling. Some of the most important Federal Acts pertaining to gambling are:
- Wire Act of 1961 – deals with people using wire communications (phones, faxes, etc.) to place bets in interstate or foreign commerce
- Travel Act of 1961 – deals with people involved in interstate travel for the purpose of committing illegal activities (including illegal gambling)
- Interstate Transportation of Gambling Paraphernalia Act of 1961 – makes it illegal to transport various items used for illegal gambling such as betting tickets or sports books
- Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1970 – imposes heavy penalties for large scale illegal gambling organizations
- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 – imposes heavy fines and jail sentences for people who participate in racketeering
- Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – makes it illegal to place certain kinds of sports bets
- Interstate Wagering Amendment of 1994 – regulates the state laws on lotteries and prevents out of state people from participating in state run lotteries
What Are the Penalties for Violating Federal Gambling Laws?
Depending on your activities, the penalties for violating federal gambling laws can be severe. If you violate federal gambling laws, you run the risk of:
- Heavy fines
- Forfeiture of winnings
- Jail time
- Conviction of a felony
Should I Consult a Lawyer?
If you have questions regarding the federal laws and how they apply to gambling, you may want to contact a business lawyer. A lawyer experienced in gaming law will be able to clarify the issues surrounding federal gambling laws and let you know how they apply to you.