Online Gambling and the Federal Government

Online Gambling

Online Gambling is the practice of betting money on a game. It can include sports betting, casinos, and virtual poker. Those who engage in illegal online gambling are breaking federal law.

The Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act prohibit illegal Internet gambling. The Illegal Gambling Business Act imposes a five-year prison term for the owners of illegal gambling businesses. Moreover, the owner must have a gross income of $2,000 or more in a day.

Some states have enacted restrictions on Internet gambling. Illinois’s prohibitions cover in-state college athletics and non-sports events. However, residents can still wager on sports events from other jurisdictions. Michigan allows the sale of casino chips to its residents, but online poker is not yet legal in the state.

Other states have legalized some forms of online gambling. For example, Liechtenstein’s International Lottery and Ohio’s online poker sites have been operating for a few years. However, the federal government has challenged enforcement of these laws on constitutional grounds.

Various attacks have been made on the due process and Commerce Clauses. These attacks have had little success.

Another issue that has been raised in court is whether the First Amendment guarantees free speech to individuals. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that such arguments are unconstitutional, the lack of a strong case has limited the government’s ability to enforce the law.

On the other hand, there is a positive impact on the government’s ability to prosecute those involved in illegal Internet gambling. UIGEA regulations are designed to identify and weed out low-level cases, ensuring that the government will not be overwhelmed with such activities.