A wide variety of gaming activities are available through the Internet. These include sports betting, virtual poker, casino gambling, and lottery games. The legality of these activities varies from state to state. Some states have strict laws regulating online gambling.
However, the legality of these activities has been debated on constitutional grounds. Specifically, the First Amendment protects free speech. But there are also arguments based on the Commerce Clause.
The Federal Communications Commission is tasked with regulating common carriers. It may choose to disband such facilities. If so, the Internet could become an illegal conduit for money laundering and other activities.
Besides the obvious concerns of Internet gambling, there are questions concerning its use for pathological purposes. One such question is whether such use will be more prevalent with the rise of high speed internet connections.
Other issues include the possibility of bringing illegal gambling into state jurisdictions. State officials have raised concerns that the Internet could be used to bring such activity into their own territories.
Several federal criminal statutes have been implicated by the use of the Internet for unlawful gambling. In particular, the United States has sued two companies for allegedly facilitating illegal Internet gambling.
The first was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. It was the first online venue for the general public.
Another was the UIGEA. This is a bill that addresses the use of the Internet for commercial purposes. Specifically, it prohibits financial transaction providers from accepting any financial instruments from individuals engaged in illegal Internet bets.