The Federal Government’s Role in Preventing Online Gambling

online gambling

The federal government’s efforts to prevent online gambling have been controversial. Several legal challenges have failed, however. Some have focused on the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. While these two arguments have some merit, there are also questions about whether federal authorities have the power to regulate Internet gambling. In addition, the due process clause is often invoked by those opposing government action on gambling.

While illegal Internet gambling can implicate federal criminal statutes, this type of gambling remains primarily a matter of state law. Nonetheless, federal law can bolster state laws in cases where the interstate or foreign element in question could frustrate state enforcement efforts. Furthermore, some state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could serve as an avenue for bringing illegal gambling to their jurisdiction.

Unlawful Internet gambling is prohibited in the United States under 31 U.S.C. 5362(10), which entails that bets on sporting events, contests, and other events can’t be placed outside of the state. Further, Internet gambling is prohibited by the Travel Act, which prohibits interstate commerce for the purpose of betting. Furthermore, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) provisions apply to illegal internet gambling.