The Interstate Wire Act of 1961, often called the Federal Wire Act, is a United States federal law prohibiting the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States. It begins with the text:
- 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.
In September 2011, the US Department of Justice released to the public a formal legal opinion on the scope of the Act concluding, “interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a ‘sporting event or contest’ fall outside the reach of the Wire Act.”
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Wire Act prohibition on the transmission of wagers applies only to sports betting and not other types of online gambling. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling.
After being selected to become US Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy suggested to the 87th United States Congress to pass legislation which would make interstate gambling illegal. Kennedy’s goal of the legislation was to help the United States Justice Department stop organized crime from trafficking. One of the eight bills given to Congress was Senate Bill 1656—The Wire Act.
Parimutuel Betting– (from the French: Pari Mutuel or mutual betting) is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the “house-take” or “vig” are removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets. In some countries it is known as the Tote after the totalisator which calculates and displays bets already made.
The parimutuel system is used in gambling on horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai, and all sporting events of relatively short duration in which participants finish in a ranked order. A modified parimutuel system is also used in some lottery games.