In a recent court case, a U.S. marshal seized $3 million from a Costa Rican casino operator for illegally facilitating online gambling transactions. The case also enshrined the concern of federal prosecutors that online gambling websites might bring illegal gambling to their states. Despite the lack of clear guidance on the legality of online gambling, the federal government continues to protect its consumers by ensuring that websites adhere to the law.
Online gambling is prohibited in the United States. Federal law defines it as betting on sports, contests, or other sporting events that take place on the internet. Illegal internet gambling is also prohibited by the Travel Act, the Wire Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The Travel Act prohibits the promotion and facilitation of illegal gambling. Those who promote or facilitate such gambling may be subject to criminal prosecution, and those who are convicted of violating the law face up to five years in prison. To be prosecuted, an operator must have operated a gambling website for at least 30 days and generate at least $2,000 in gross revenue on any given day.