While federal law does prohibit online gambling, there are still several challenges to this law. Several constitutional issues have been raised regarding the legality of online gambling, including the Commerce Clause and First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, these arguments have not gained much traction. Commerce Clause concerns seem to be satisfied by the commercial nature of the business, while free speech arguments are undermined by the limited First Amendment protection for crimes that facilitate speech. Moreover, due process arguments are weakened because the money is involved in financial transactions that are made within the United States.
While the majority of state laws do not prohibit online gambling, there are federal criminal statutes that may apply to some cases. For example, 31 U.S.C. 5362(10)(B) specifies that gambling is not allowed when people are traveling. However, the act does not prohibit gambling on airplanes.
The Wire Act defines Internet gambling as “illegal.” This act prohibits illegal internet gambling and involves wagering on sporting events and contests over the Internet. It also prohibits illegal gambling activities that occur in interstate commerce. Finally, there are RICO provisions that prohibit unlawful gambling business activities. So, if you’re considering gambling online, make sure you’re aware of the laws and regulations.