Online Gambling Laws

Online Gambling

Online Gambling is an increasingly popular activity that includes the conduct of casinos, lotteries, pools, and bookmaking. The activities are regulated by state laws. There are also federal criminal statutes that prohibit gambling on the Internet.

Gambling online is prohibited under the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), and the Travel Act. Each of these acts prohibits the interstate transfer of illegal Internet bets. However, there are some legal aspects that are not always clear.

Although there are federal criminal statutes that are cited in cases involving illegal gambling, there are also constitutional objections to enforcing these laws. These concerns are generally based on the Commerce Clause, the First Amendment, and the Due Process Clause.

The Commerce Clause creates a limited exception to the rule that a state must regulate activities that take place in part overseas. This exception is not available to activities in the home, however. Hence, state officials have expressed concern that the internet can be used to bring unlawful gambling into their jurisdictions.

The First Amendment, in particular, has raised questions about whether gambling constitutes free speech. In addition, the Commerce Clause has been questioned as to whether legislative power is sufficient to enforce it. It is unclear whether or not the Due Process Clause has been successfully used in this context.

Nevertheless, the federal criminal statutes are reinforced by the law of the states in most cases. The question of whether a gambling business can be deemed a public nuisance has been addressed in a number of courts.