Transmission of Wagering Information
Florida law permits gambling on reservation casinos and in the sport of horse racing. Otherwise, the state strictly regulates the amounts that can be wagered, as well as where casinos can be located geographically. However, these are not the only laws that regulate gambling, as Congress passed a series of laws aimed at inhibiting the transmission of wagering information between states. Navigating state and federal gambling laws can be complex, so if you have been charged with a gambling offense in Florida, it is critical to contact an experienced white collar crime attorney who can explain your legal options.
Federal law prohibits people who engage in the business of betting or wagering from using a wire communication facility to transmit wagers or information in interstate or foreign commerce if the transmission assists in the placing of bets on any sporting event or contest. It is also unlawful to use wire communication to:
- Transmit any material that entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers; or
- Transmit information that assists in the placing of bets or wagers.
Generally, these charges are leveled against businesses in an effort to cut down on organized gambling, although the law has also been applied to internet gambling. Those who are convicted of illegally transmitting wagering information face serious consequences, including fines and a two year prison sentence.
Certain activities are specifically exempted from this law, including:
- Transmitting information for use in news reporting of sporting events or contests; and
- Transmitting information that helps with the placing of bets or wagers in a contest from a state or foreign country where betting is legal, into a state in which betting is legal.
Aside from these exceptions, transmitting information to assist in betting can be prosecuted under federal law.
In 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published a memo, in which it clarified two decades of differing opinions on the issue of interstate non-sports related internet gambling. In its publication, the DOJ specifically stated that this federal law does not apply to non-sports betting, which means that the DOJ cannot prohibit states from:
- Licensing intrastate internet gambling;
- Providing lottery games over the internet; or
- Compacting with each other to provide interstate gaming.
When a common carrier is notified in writing by law enforcement officers that its services are being used or will be used to transmit or receive gambling information, it is required by law to discontinue or refuse to continue leasing, furnishing, or maintaining its facility. Furthermore, no damages, or civil or criminal penalties can be found against a common carrier for complying with orders from law enforcement.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Although certain gambling activities are permitted in Florida, federal law prohibits these entities from using or receiving wagers via wire communication, so if you have been charged with internet gambling, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys by calling 305-670-9919. You deserve compassionate and experienced representation during this stressful time.