The Travel Act of 1961 is an act that makes it illegal to travel across state lines, or uses the mail or other method to transfer material across state lines, with the intent to promote or facilitate an unlawful activity.

How Does this Relate to Gambling?

Under the travel act, illegal gambling constitutes an unlawful activity. So, if you drive across state lines or send materials in the mail or over the phone in order to participate in illegal gambling, you may be in violation of the Travel Act.

If My State Allows a Certain Type of Gambling, Can I Still Violate the Travel Act?

Possibly. Whether or not your activity is illegal will depend on both your state law and the state law of any other person involved in the interstate commerce. If your specific type of gambling is legal in your state and the state of anyone else involved, you are involved in legal gambling and so you are not promoting an unlawful activity.

What Kinds of Gambling Activities Are Illegal under the Travel Act of 1961?

The Travel Act regulates interstate commerce that relates to unlawful activities. These activities can include:

  • Using the mail to send illegal gambling materials, such as winnings from an illegal betting operation
  • Using a credit card over the phone to make an illegal bet
  • Sending tickertapes to help place bets

Who Does the Travel Act Apply to?

Read broadly, the Travel Act could be interpreted to apply to individual bettors. However, the Travel Act is typically interpreted to apply only to those involved in running a business enterprise involving gambling.

How Does the Travel Act Affect Online Gambling?

Read broadly, the Travel Act does seem to relate to online gambling. You are crossing state lines via the internet with the intention to participate in illegal gambling. Most likely, the Travel Act will not punish individual gamblers, but it may make online gambling sites illegal if they facilitate illegal gambling.

Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If you have questions regarding the Travel Act and how it relates to your gambling enterprises, you may want to talk to an entertainment lawyer. A lawyer experienced in gaming law will be able to inform you of what you can and cannot do within your state’s laws, and can tell you more about your rights.