When online gambling first hit the internet, it appeared as a way to bypass government regulation. Essentially anyone with a credit card could place wagers on an online gambling site. The Internet was a relatively new platform for gambling, and it appeared that the federal government was in the dark about its existence. However, this all changed when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was overturned. Since then, a number of states have taken measures to regulate sports betting on the Internet. In addition to sports betting, a number of other forms of internet gambling are currently legal. Some state laws, such as those in New Jersey, allow residents to participate in fantasy sports and poker online.
In recent years, the legality of Internet gambling has been contested on constitutional grounds. One of the key issues relates to the Commerce Clause doctrine. According to this theory, the federal government has the authority to pass laws that govern commerce, but it has no authority to legislate regarding the use of the Internet. That means that the federal government cannot prevent states from passing gambling laws. It also means that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to prevent the leasing or furnishing of facilities.
This doctrine is problematic, because it creates a situation in which state laws outside of the state’s borders are unconstitutional. States may not enforce their laws due to this conflict. State officials have expressed concern that the Internet could be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
On the federal level, the Wire Act of 1961 outlines the federal laws that are applicable to wagering and wagering businesses. However, the definition of this law is somewhat unclear. As a result, it seems that the entire telecommunications infrastructure may be covered by the act. Thus, even though the act does not specifically prohibit online gaming, it does impose a lot of restrictions on it. If a wagering business operates in violation of the law, they can be fined and imprisoned.
There are some states that have a strong anti-gambling sentiment. For example, Idaho is a staunch opponent. Hawaii, which has a large Mormon population, is a major opponent of gambling. Similarly, Wisconsin is a state that is opposed to the development of casino and lottery industries.
The Department of Justice has examined the issues surrounding the regulation of online gambling. A study published in December 2002 explored some of the most critical issues. Other studies focused on the impact of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
While the DOJ has not explicitly addressed the issue of whether or not UIGEA should be applied to the Internet, Congress is likely to enact legislation that will address the issue. In fact, House Representatives have introduced several bills that would soften the federal Internet gambling law. These laws are intended to reduce the financial burden that UIGEA imposes on businesses operating on the Internet.
In addition to regulating gambling on the Internet, the US Supreme Court has also ruled in favor of the legalization of sports betting. Although the decision is not yet final, it is expected that sports betting will be available to users on desktop computers and mobile devices.