During the late 1990s, online gambling gained popularity in the United States. However, there were concerns that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into the jurisdictions of states. As a result, state officials took steps to regulate the activity. Various forms of online gambling are legal in some countries, while in others they are illegal.
The federal government has a number of statutes that make it illegal for Internet gamblers to use the Internet. These include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Some of these statutes are enforced through the Federal Information Technology Rules.
Section 1956 of the Internal Revenue Code makes it a crime to launder money in order to hide or conceal illicit activities. Additionally, it creates several other crimes, including laundering to avoid taxation and laundering to disguise an act of criminal conduct.
In the first case, a gambling operation known as Seals with Clubs was accused of running an illegal bitcoin poker site. Although the owner argued that cryptocurrencies were social gambling, the government said they were not recognized as currency by the federal government. Consequently, the operator was fined $25,000 and was sentenced to two years probation.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects free speech, has been challenged in some cases in the context of enforcing the federal gambling laws. This is particularly true of the Travel Act, which prohibits players from using interstate facilities to engage in unlawful activities.