The Internet has opened up an entire new world of gambling to the general public. From casinos to virtual poker to sports betting, online gambling is becoming more and more common. As a result, the question of whether the federal government has the legal authority to regulate it is increasingly being asked. Some state officials are concerned that online gambling may facilitate illegal gambling activities. Others have pointed out that the commercial nature of the industry satisfies the Commerce Clause.
For many Americans, internet gambling is a way to bet on the NFL or play their favorite casino game without ever leaving home. However, federal legislation has been introduced to limit the types of gambling available in the United States, as well as the methods by which those activities may be conducted.
Internet gambling has become a hot topic in the United States. While only a few states have passed laws to make online gambling legal, more and more American citizens are able to participate in gambling via the Web. In fact, more than half the country will be able to place bets on sports in the near future.
Despite the popularity of Internet-based gambling, many states have not taken strong action to enforce the laws. This is because of a conflict between the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine and the states’ attempts to regulate gambling within their own borders.
The Department of Justice has maintained that all Internet gambling is illegal. Several House Representatives have introduced several bills to soften the federal law. One bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, would allow the government to license and regulate Internet gambling companies. It would also provide for taxes and penalties on those companies that take bets from citizens of the U.S.
Online gambling is also regulated by state legislatures. States have different laws regarding the minimum age for gambling and the types of gambling activities that are permitted. Illinois, for instance, permits online sports betting, but requires that consumers register in person to take advantage of the service. Other states, such as Indiana and Massachusetts, have passed laws allowing the legalization of online gambling. Eventually, all 35 casinos in Colorado will be able to offer online sports betting.
Another federal law is the Wire Act, which is the government’s attempt to crack down on illegal gambling. While the federal statute has not been strictly enforced, it has resulted in the arrest of two men who were found to be illegally placing bets on the Web. There are also provisions in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that govern gambling activity on Indian reservations.
Moreover, the UIGEA has a few other factors to consider, including a Congressional report examining the impact of the law on interstate commerce. Still, it is doubtful that the law will preempt states from taking action on Internet gambling.
Finally, there is the Sporting News agreement to pay a $3 million fine to launch a public service campaign. The CRS Report RS21984 provides some citations to other laws related to gambling.