Online Gambling and the Constitution

Online Gambling

Gambling includes a wide variety of activities, from casinos to lotteries, bingo to pool selling, and sports betting. Increasingly, technology has altered the gaming business. The internet has opened up new avenues for gambling. However, it has also raised some constitutional concerns.

Internet gambling involves the use of the Internet to place bets, receive bets, and transmit bets. These activities are illegal under several federal criminal statutes.

Those statutes include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Travel Act. They are designed to prevent unlawful Internet gambling by prohibiting it on contests, interstate commerce, and other aspects of the activity.

Aside from these federal statutes, state law has also played a role in prohibiting gambling on the Internet. In New York, for example, a person who engages in gambling is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Several cases have been argued on constitutional grounds. Some attacks have focused on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, while others have challenged the government’s legislative power.

Although not always successful, these attacks have been based on the Commerce Clause. It is unclear whether or not the commercial nature of a gambling business is sufficient to meet the requirements of the Commerce Clause. This question is especially pertinent because the United States has jurisdiction over common carriers and many casino operators have facilities across the country.

On the other hand, there are elements in the Lopez Amendment that have been cited to weed out low-level gambling cases. Section 1956 creates laundering to disguise, to evade taxes, and to promote illicit activities.