Interim Report on Internet Gambling

GAO-02-1101R: Published: Sep 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2002.

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GAO conducted a study on Internet gambling and the use of credit cards to fund Internet gambling activities. Currently, both state and federal laws apply to Internet gambling in the United States. The Wire Act is the federal statute that has been used to prosecute federal Internet gambling cases. The act prohibits gambling businesses from using interstate or international wires to knowingly receive or send certain types of bets or information that would assist in placing bets. Although the Wire Act has been successfully used to prosecute gambling businesses through the Internet, the statute contains certain ambiguities that may limit its applicability. Two types of credit card organizations handle the four major credit cards issued in the United States. Credit card associations are owned by a large network of member financial institutions, which may approve credit card applications and issue credit cards, approve and sign up merchants to accept the cards, or both. Credit card associations have focused primarily on facilitating the blocking of Internet gambling transactions. Credit card companies have focused primarily on prohibiting Internet gambling sites from becoming credit card merchants.

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