The Federal Government’s Role in Online Gambling
The number of people gambling online has risen dramatically over the past five years. In fact, 9% of the population reports some form of gambling problem.
Gambling can take many forms, from casinos to sports betting. But how does the law handle such activities?
Generally, the law prohibits using financial instruments to make illegal Internet bets. However, the law also reinforces state laws governing online gambling, which can be particularly troubling to officials.
Aside from the financial instruments statute, there are several other federal laws implicated by online gambling. These include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (GDTA), and the Travel Act.
The UIGEA prohibits gambling operators from accepting or facilitating payment for any illegal Internet bet. However, in order to be able to make such payments, operators must meet certain requirements.
For example, they must have an annual gross revenue of at least $2000, and their operation must have been going on for at least thirty days. They can also be fined or imprisoned.
Other relevant laws include the GDTA, the Lopez amendment, and the ol’ Travel Act. All of these have been subject to numerous court challenges over the years.
As with any new law, the first challenge to a new legislation has been the constitutionality of enforcing it. While the Commerce Clause and First Amendment are likely to be the main focus of any debate over the law’s validity, questions about legislative power have also been raised.