Federal Online Gambling Laws

There are several legal arguments against the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting online gambling, including the Commerce Clause, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, and the Due Process Clause. However, these arguments have had limited success. Commerce Clause concerns have been satisfied by the fact that gambling is a commercial activity, and free speech objections have been weakened by the limited scope of First Amendment protection for crimes facilitating speech. Due Process arguments are similarly weak, especially when financial transactions are concerned.

Despite the lack of a federal definition, there are numerous state laws that regulate online gambling. For example, 31 U.S.C. 5362(10) defines “illegal internet gambling” as “placing, receiving, or transmitting bets over the internet, or through a telecommunications service.” While this is a broad definition, it may not cover all activities, such as online gambling.