Online Gambling and the Constitution
Online Gambling is an activity that involves placing bets for the outcome of an event, such as a sports game, or a casino game. This can involve wagering on a sporting event, a video poker machine, or a bingo game. Some states do not permit this type of online gambling.
Although the internet has made online gambling a popular form of entertainment, it can also become addictive. It has the potential to lead to financial ruin. A gambler may continue to gamble even if he or she is on a losing streak.
In addition to state laws, the federal government also enforces illegal Internet gambling. These laws include the Wire Act, which is an act that prohibits the transmission of bets across the Internet. Additionally, the Travel Act is another law that prohibits unlawful gambling on interstate commerce.
Since many of these illegal activities take place overseas, due process objections have been raised. Also, state officials have been concerned that Internet gambling could bring illegal activities into their jurisdictions.
The Commerce Clause is also a constitutional concern. Although it has not been litigated, arguments have been made about the power of Congress to legislate.
The question of how to balance the right of free speech with the need to protect against criminal activity has been a contentious issue. However, attacks based on the Constitution’s Due Process Clause have been unsuccessful so far.
In December 2002, the General Accounting Office published Internet Gambling: An Overview of Issues. It included the text of several state gambling laws, but did not discuss Rewis.