What is Online Gambling?
Online gambling, in a nutshell, is the use of the Internet to place bets. A variety of games can be played on the Internet, including sports betting, casinos, virtual poker, and bingo. Gambling is a legal activity in some countries, but it is illegal in others.
The federal government has attempted to enforce the law on illegal Internet gambling. These efforts have met with constitutional obstacles. Although the Commerce Clause provides some level of First Amendment protection to the government, the limited measure of its effect has led some to question the legality of regulating gambling in the United States.
While the state and federal government have tried to police the use of the Internet for illegal gambling, there are questions about the validity of the law’s application. Due process arguments have been raised in these cases.
The first Internet-based venue to open for the general public was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. This site allowed gamblers to place bets on events taking place in the country. In this case, the competition was driven by the theme and graphics used in the games.
Several states have enacted laws specifically aimed at preventing Internet gaming. One such law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), prohibits the acceptance of financial instruments for Internet bets.
Another interesting law is the Travel Act, which applies to players who engage in unlawful activities using interstate facilities. Similarly, the Lopez Amendment, which regulates commercial activities, has elements designed to help weed out the low-hanging fruit.