Online Gambling – The Commerce Clause and the First Amendment
Those who wish to take part in online gambling must be careful and responsible. Those who are addicted to online gambling can end up in deep financial trouble.
In the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is a law that prohibits the transfer of funds to or from any online gambling site. The act also requires age verification and appropriate data security standards.
The statute defines “illegal Internet gambling” as placing or receiving bets on an Internet website, transferring money to or from an Internet website, or transmitting bets on an Internet website. It also prohibits the use of telecommunications facilities to conduct these activities.
The federal government has attempted to estimate the size of the online gambling industry. It has done so through several different methods. For example, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission has attempted to develop a rough estimate. The Department of Justice has also tried to estimate the size of the industry. However, they have not been able to come up with a precise number.
Various state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. While many of these issues are addressed by state laws, there are elements that can frustrate state enforcement policies.
Specifically, the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment have been raised in cases involving gambling. In some instances, these arguments have proved ineffective. In others, they have not.
The Commerce Clause may have a limited role in criminal prosecutions for Internet gambling. Section 1956 of the Criminal Code, for example, creates several distinct crimes for laundering the proceeds of illegal Internet gambling.