Online gambling (also known as e-gambling) is a form of wagering that takes place over the Internet. It is a variation on the old fashioned, land-based gambling model, and may be found in countries across the globe. Some countries have enacted legal regulations, while others have banned it entirely. However, many have resorted to online casinos and betting sites to fulfill their gaming desires.
The first major Internet casino operation was in Liechtenstein. Today, internet-based gambling is legal in some provinces in Canada, as well as in most of the European Union. Gambling is also legal in a number of Caribbean nations. Nevertheless, most states have yet to fully legislate on the topic.
Some states have enacted legislation of their own, while others have adopted the Public Gambling Act of 1867. These laws do not explicitly mention online gambling, but some states have made it a point to include it in their legal code.
The Department of Justice, in particular, is interested in the legality of Internet gambling. Specifically, they are concerned that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into state jurisdictions. In response, they have drafted the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act, which would license and tax Internet gambling businesses. This legislation would not prohibit them from taking bets from the United States, but it would impose some stiff penalties for violations.
Interestingly, the most popular and important gambling laws in the United States are not necessarily federal. In fact, the majority of gambling statutes are in the hands of the individual state. Thus, there are some questions about how much power the federal government has over the law in general.
Moreover, there is a lot of debate about the validity of the Commerce Clause as a legal basis for states to regulate gambling. According to some, the Clause does not allow states to enact legislation that interferes with the activities of federal agencies. Nevertheless, attacks on the Clause based on free speech and due process arguments have failed to gain traction.
Another question is whether the Commerce Clause trumps other constitutional principles, such as the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and assembly. Indeed, the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech only extends to the right to speak, but it does not cover the activities that facilitate speech.
One example of a successful Commerce Clause attack is the case involving Sporting News, an Internet poker company. The company agreed to pay a $3 million fine and launch a public-service campaign. As a result, the US marshals seized $3.2 million from the company’s subsidiary, Discovery Communications.
A more technical question is whether the law is capable of preempting the implementation of state legislation. However, in the past, states have had little to no interest in enforcing their own gambling laws. While there is a small amount of legalized online gambling in the U.S., the majority of people are not willing to gamble in the privacy of their own homes.