Almost 10 million Americans are involved in online gambling, a growing phenomenon. A recent study has found that teens, especially males, are drawn to the thrill of gambling. They are also drawn to the prospect of fast money and instant gratification. They may be lured into gambling for fun and entertainment, or they may be lured into gambling for money in hopes of winning big. Then there are those who are gambling in order to pay off debts, or to steal money.
Several federal criminal statutes are implicated by illegal Internet gambling. These statutes include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
A report by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) has found that a large percentage of college-age males (approximately 16.0%) visited an internet gambling site at least once a month. While this number has remained relatively stable, it is still a substantial increase from the 4.4% of college-age males who visited an internet gambling site in 2010.
A recent report published by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that high school-aged males were unable to distinguish the legality of online gambling from other forms of gambling. The report found that online gambling sites offer higher odds and bigger prize winners than other forms of gambling. But, it also noted that many teenagers gamble to get away from boredom, as well as for peer pressure.
A recent case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against K23 Group Financial Services, a major Internet poker operator, charged the company with violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). In addition, the company is being charged with money laundering and violations of the 18 U.S.C. 1955.