Online Gambling – Overview of Issues
Online Gambling is the use of the Internet to place bets on games or sports events. It includes betting on sports results, bingo, pool-selling, virtual poker and roulette. The industry has grown at a rapid rate.
Online gambling is generally not protected from state or federal prosecution. However, the federal government has reinforced state laws when they have been enacted. Specifically, the Wire Act prohibits illegal gambling on sporting contests. There are also Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions that ban illegal gambling business activities.
In 2002, the General Accounting Office published a report on Internet Gambling: Overview of Issues. Despite these findings, there are some significant issues remaining.
First, due process concerns have been raised about regulating activities overseas or in part within the United States. Second, the Commerce Clause has been raised in the debate over gambling. Third, there are questions about the legislative power to regulate gambling. Finally, there have been a few attacks based on the guarantee of free speech. These attacks have not yet been successful.
One issue that has been raised is whether the state has jurisdiction over online gambling. Specifically, it is unclear whether the state’s right to regulate gambling extends to the home.
As a result, state officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This concern has been exacerbated by the fact that the online gambling industry has expanded at an unprecedented pace.