Can You Go to Jail for Gambling Online?
There’s a reason why reading the fine print on almost any gambling site will tell you the site is being run out of some small country overseas. Online gambling is illegal in all 50 states.
Technically, you can be brought up on charges for placing bets online.
It is rare for individual gamblers to be brought up on charges. The Federal Government has shown a lot more interest in going after the owners of gambling websites and the people who run online gambling rings. For example, law enforcement recently went after a Utah Man who was bringing in $8 million a year on his online gambling operation. There was a similar bust in Cleveland earlier this year.
That doesn’t mean an individual is out of the woods. There are potential consequences of online gambling.
The most common is you’ll lose any money in your “account” if the federal government targets a site you’ve been playing on. That’s because they freeze the assets of the gambling site. The site becomes unable to pay you…and is usually disinterested in doing so. You can’t exactly appeal to courts, or the law, to get your money back.
The other is a lot more concerning.
If you’re involved in any other activity the federal government might be interested in then your online gambling habit could open some doors for them that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to open. They could focus on your gambling and use that to get warrants that they could then use to gather information on your other activities.
Think of Al Capone, who was eventually caught, not for his activities as a gangster, but for his failure to file and pay his taxes. The same principle applies.
If you run an online gambling ring you’re likely in a lot more trouble than you think. You’ll be charged with “transmission of wagering, betting by use of wire communication”, but you’ll also be charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and broadcasting lottery information. It’s also very common for the feds to tack on a money laundering charge.
Remember, prosecutors like to pile on as many charges as possible to make sure that something sticks.
It’s easy to imagine that the Internet shields you and that your activities there are totally anonymous. In reality, the federal government is very vigilant about any site that uses the Internet to commit financial crimes.
If you’re in trouble for online gambling or other cyber crimes, Koch Law can help. We’re expert federal defense lawyers as well as experts at defending people who have been charged with wire fraud or other cyber crimes.
Contact our office for a free consultation today.
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