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Federal Laws and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Federal laws prohibiting online gambling have been challenged on several legal grounds. However, these attacks have not proven successful in court. In particular, the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment guarantee of free speech have not been upheld by the courts. Commerce Clause concerns seem to be addressed by the commercial nature of the gambling industry, and free speech objections are hamstrung by the limited protections available under the First Amendment for crimes facilitating speech. In addition, due process arguments have been weakened when financial transactions are involved.

Under the federal criminal laws, Internet gambling violates seven federal criminal statutes. These laws prohibit the placing, receiving, and transmitting of bets through interstate commerce. There are also provisions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that prohibits gambling business activities on the Internet.