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Currently, nonsports betting is interpreted as legal" [87] under the Wire Act. [88] Case law: most notably the recent decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, clearly supports this conclusion. ."[92] The case is currently on appeal to the Fifth Circuit.

2001) ("it mattered only that Cohen knowingly committed the deeds forbidden by 1084, not that he intended to violate the statute").

The Wire Act was intended to assist the states, territories and possessions of the United States, as well as the District of Columbia, in enforcing their respective laws on gambling and bookmaking and to suppress organized gambling activities.[58] Subsection (a) of the Wire Act, a criminal provision, provides: Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.[59] In analyzing the first element, the legislative history[60] of the Wire Act seems to support the position that casual bettors would fall outside of the prosecutorial reach of the statute. It does not go after the causal gambler who bets on a race. 7039, 87th Cong., 1st Sess.(1961) [61] United States v.

During the House of Representatives debate on the bill, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee stated "[t]his bill only gets after the bookmaker, the gambler who makes it his business to take bets or to lay off bets. That type of transaction is not within the purvue of the statute."[61] In Baborian, the federal district court concluded that Congress did not intend to include social bettors within the umbrella of the statute, even those bettors that bet large sums of money and show a certain degree of sophistication.[62] Some courts have construed the second element concerning transmission to mean just the "sending" of information and not the receipt thereof.[63] Other courts have interpreted the term "transmission" more broadly to include both parties using a wire communication facility.

[64] The term "wire communication facility" is defined, for purposes of transmitting as set forth in the third element above, as: [A]ny and all instrumentalities, personnel, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, or delivery of communications) used or useful in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission.[65] The fourth element is that the person acted "knowingly." This does not mean that he or she knew they were violating the statute, but rather, the individual knowingly used an interstate wire communication facility to engage in one of the three forms of prohibited transmissions listed above.[66] Subsection (b) of the Wire Act sets forth exceptions, also known as a "safe harbor" clause and provides: Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of information [(1)] for the use in news reporting of sporting events or contests, or [(2)] for the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on the sporting event or contest is legal into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.[67] " The first exemption was designed to permit 'bona fide news reporting of sporting events or contests.'"[68] The second exemption "was created for the discrete purpose of permitting the transmission of information relating to betting on particular sports where such betting was legal in both the state from which the information was sent and the state in which it was received."[69] Subsection (c) simply provides that nothing contained in the provisions of the Wire Act shall create immunity from criminal prosecution under any state laws.[70] Finally, subsection (d) dictates when a telephone company or other common carrier, subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission, must terminate service when that service is being used to transmit or receive gambling information in violation of law.[71] The language of the Wire Act clearly prohibits the use of the Internet for transmission of sports bets or wagers or information assisting in the placement of such bets or wagers,[72] unless transmission falls within one of the two exceptions noted above.

The statute, however, does not expressly discuss its possible application to other forms of gambling.

[90] The court held that the plain language of the Wire Act was limited to gambling on a sporting event or related contest. [94] Some have pointed to section 1084(d) and its reference to "common carriers" within the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission to support the argument that "wire communication facility" is limited to telephone companies. ., the official position as expressed by the Justice Department [during the Clinton Administration] and several state attorneys general is to treat the Wire Act as applying broadly and covering all forms of Internet gaming." [98] End notes: [57] See Sporting Events – Transmission of Bets, Wagers, and Related Information Act, Pub.

[91] The court reasoned that: [T]he recent legislative history of internet gambling legislation reinforces the Court's determination that internet gambling on a game of chance is not prohibited conduct under 18 U. [95] "Thus, absent a determination that it violates federal, state, or local law, use of the Internet for gambling would not appear to implicate directly any of the FCC's common carrier rules." [96] 96 Others simply argue that Congress chose to broadly define "wire communication facility" to cover a wide range of wire communication modes that were known and unknown in 1961, like the Internet.

[77] By contrast, section 1084 only references bets or wagers on "sporting events or contests." Similarly, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, [78] defines "gambling" to include "but is not limited to poolselling, bookmaking, maintaining slot machines, roulette wheels or dice tables, and conducting lotteries, policy, bolita or numbers games, or selling chances therein."[79] Legislative history: The legislative history of the Wire Act seems to provide support for a narrow construction.

The title of the legislation is "Sporting Events- Transmission of Bets, Wagers, and Related Information." [80] The House of Representatives Report on Senate Bill 1656, dated August 17, 1961, states that the bill is in response "modern bookmaking." [81] In the "Sectional Analysis" of the report, the terms "sporting event or contest" and "sporting event" seemed to be interchangeable.

A narrow construction approach is further bolstered by looking at the Interstate Transportation of Wagering Paraphernalia Act, [76] which was enacted as part of the same anti-organized crime legislation as the Wire Act.

Section 1953 separately references bookmaking, wagering pools with respect to a sporting event, numbers, policy, bolita or similar games.

De Marco, Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, Gambling Against Enforcement - Internet Sports Books and the Wire Act, supra, n.