… No transferring money electronically
for gambling; and
… No wagers in offshore Internet
casinos even if you live in the U.S.
What’s allowed? Some
free online games, fantasy leagues, and Indian
gaming sites that aren’t strictly defined
as Internet gambling.
It’s also illegal for businesses to
run gambling websites and to solicit online
bets. Even companies handling transactions
for cyberspace bettors can face federal charges.
Cracking down. Our strategy
for tackling illegal online gambling—as
a key enforcement agency—is to start
with the companies providing the services
in the first place. “We’re going
after the people making the money—the
owners of these virtual casinos, gaming rooms,
and off-track betting parlors,” Bryant
currently have about a dozen of these cases
in motion. One of the biggest came last July
when a federal grand jury in St. Louis
returned a 22-count indictment against
11 individuals and four companies for their
involvement in illegal online gaming and related
activities. On May 24, one of the companies—BetonSports—
pled guilty to racketeering charges in
We’ve also had success against companies
supporting the money flows behind virtual
gambling. In January, for example, two
were charged with operating an Internet payment
services company that transferred billions
of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds between
U.S. citizens and the owners of online gambling
sites outside the country.
In 2003, another Internet financial services
company paid $10 million in a civil agreement
to settle allegations that it aided illegal
offshore and online gambling agreements. The
U.S. government has also settled several cases
with online businesses that have accepted
money to market virtual gambling operations.
Think a little online gambling can’t
cost you? Don’t bet on it.
Even if you don’t get caught gambling,
you could well lose the money you have in
an online gaming account if the company
faces charges, since the U.S. government
seizes assets in these cases whenever possible.
FYI, here are the primary federal
laws that govern online gambling:
For more information on our cyber investigations
and operations, see our Cyber