Online gambling is gambling that is played via the internet. This type of gambling includes casino games, sports betting, and virtual poker.
It has been estimated that online gambling is worth roughly $40 billion each year worldwide. However, it is not legal in many countries, including the United States. There are, however, several laws that prohibit illegal gambling in the U.S.
One law, the Wire Act, is specific to the interstate and foreign aspects of Internet gambling. The Act prohibits the conduct of illegal gambling on any sporting event, contest, or activity.
Another law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), specifically makes it a federal crime to use the Internet to receive or place bets on any activity. In addition, a number of other federal criminal statutes are implicated, including the Money Laundering Control Act, the Clean Air Act, the Federal Wire Act, and the Federal Illegal Gambling Business Act.
While many states have laws on the books, a few have decided to legalize the practice. Massachusetts will begin to legalize sports betting in early 2023. Other states that may do the same in the near future include Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
The legality of these activities has been challenged on various constitutional grounds. Some of these arguments involve the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Others cite the Commerce Clause. These attacks have so far had little success. But the commercial nature of the gambling business has arguably satisfied those doubts.