The Federal Government’s Role in Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Whether you are starting a business or want to play your favorite gambling game in the comfort of your home, you should know your gambling laws. Understanding the legality of your online gambling activities will help you choose the region where you can operate your betting business.

In the United States, the law governing gambling primarily revolves around state law. However, there are federal statutes that are also implicated in illegal Internet gambling. These federal statutes include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions.

The Wire Act is a federal statute that prohibits illegal gambling on sporting events. The Illegal Gambling Business Act also regulates the business of illegal gambling.

While the Commerce Clause may give Congress power to legislate against gambling, questions have arisen regarding the extent to which legislative power can be extended to a commercial activity that merely facilitates speech.

The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech is also under attack. Using the Due Process Clause to attack federal gambling laws has been met with little success.

The Travel Act is another federal statute that regulates the interstate commerce of gambling. This act prohibits illegal gambling on sports and other contests. In addition, the UIGEA prohibits financial transactions for illegal Internet gambling.

The Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers, and may discontinue the furnishing and leasing of facilities. Similarly, state officials have expressed their concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.