The Legality of Online Gambling
Online Gambling is when people bet on a game of chance for money. It can be in the form of gambling on sports, playing virtual poker or casinos, bingo, or lotteries. The popularity of online gambling has increased in the past few years. This activity is estimated to be worth $40 billion in the United States alone every year.
Illegal Internet gambling is a crime under the Wire Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions, and the Illegal Gambling Business Act. If a gambling business is found to be operating illegally, the owner could be fined for as much as five years.
Some states have begun to legalize online sports betting and casino gambling. Maryland, for example, recently approved a bill that allows residents to bet on online sports games. Kansas recently allowed residents to wager on online sports games. Eventually, the State of Illinois may also decide to permit gambling on the Internet.
The federal government has imposed many restrictions on Internet gambling, and in recent years, has challenged the legality of its enforcement. As a result, state officials have expressed concerns that the Internet could be used to transport illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
Online gambling, based on the concept of chance, is not protected by the First Amendment. This is a point that has been brought up by opponents of the law, who have enjoyed little success. However, the commercial nature of the gambling business does seem to satisfy the Commerce Clause objections.