Using the internet to engage in illegal gambling is not only a criminal offense, but it is also a violation of federal criminal statutes. In the United States, these laws include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the Gambling Tax Act.
The aforementioned statutes have been challenged on constitutional grounds. While the Commerce Clause has been largely ignored, there have been attacks based on the Due Process Clause. These attacks have generally enjoyed little success. However, the law does seem to satisfy the First Amendment by allowing limited protection for a crime facilitating speech, which encumbers free speech objections.
Whether the Commerce Clause is an adequate governing principle to protect the right to gamble is an open question. The commercial nature of the gambling business seems to mitigate any doubts. Nevertheless, state officials have raised concerns that the internet could be used to smuggle illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
The aforementioned CRS Report RS21984 cites several state gambling laws. It is a brief, abridged version of the full CRS Report. In addition to the citations, it also includes a text of the statutes it refers to. It is available at the aforementioned website.
The most interesting section of the report is the “State Laws Relating to Gambling.” The report contains a summary of the relevant state legislation. In addition, it contains the CRS’s own take on what it considers the most important gambling laws. The report also includes a list of the top ten gambling websites, and it offers an overall review of the legality of gambling in the U.S. Interestingly, the report does not discuss the case of Rewis v. Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Ass’n.
Despite the law’s shortcomings, the “Rewis” reference is not discussed. It is the best known example of the Commerce Clause being able to protect the right to gamble. In this case, it was not a question of the right to play a poker game, but of the right to place a bet.
Another notable piece of legislation is the Lopez Amendment, which is a Congressional finding that commercial activity affecting interstate commerce should be regulated. It also identifies elements to weed out low-level gambling cases.
There are several different types of online gambling, including sports betting, virtual poker, and casinos. All require access to a stable Internet connection and a reliable software application. Some gambling sites specialize in just one type of gambling, while others offer a variety. Some sites also feature sophisticated software to play the games and enter contests.
The other obvious way to play a game of gambling is to visit a land-based casino. Unlike online gambling, a brick-and-mortar venue requires a license and expensive equipment. These establishments are generally cheaper than their online counterparts. In fact, many people prefer to play online because it is more convenient and comfortable. In addition, there are a number of contemporary online casino games, which are highly popular.