The First Amendment and Online Gambling

Online Gambling

Unlike other legal forms of gambling, online gambling does not require the physical presence of a casino. You can play online on a mobile phone, laptop, or any other device with an Internet connection. However, you should take precautions against deceivers, scams, and other forms of online fraud.

The First Amendment is not a bulwark against criminal prosecution for Internet gambling. But it does raise questions about the constitutionality of federal gambling laws.

In the United States, gambling is prohibited by the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). These laws are enforced by the Department of Justice, which can prohibit or terminate licenses for gambling businesses. Some states are concerned that the Internet can be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.

The UIGEA makes it illegal for any person to “knowingly participate in an Internet gambling transaction.” It also prohibits a person from “accepting any financial instrument in connection with an Internet bet.”

The Wire Act makes it illegal to gamble on sporting events. The Travel Act prohibits illegal gambling on interstate commerce. The Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers. It may also refuse to lease or furnish facilities for the conduct of gambling.

The UIGEA also requires that operators of online gambling sites implement appropriate data security standards and age verification procedures. Some banks may refuse to process gambling transactions if they are not in compliance with these laws.