Online Sports Betting Legalization in the United States

Online Gambling

Several states, including New Jersey, have authorized online wagering on sports and fantasy sports. The Garden State is also the only state to have legalized online gambling on horse racing. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement oversees internet wagering in the Garden State.

Ohio is set to launch online sports betting on January 1, 2023. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 29 into law in late December. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has begun licensing businesses for operation.

The United States has been in the news recently for its attempts to prosecute illegal Internet gambling. In the 4th Circuit case of United States v. Nicolaou, five people placed bets on a sports event during a thirty day period. This involved gross revenues of $2,000. The U.S. marshals seized $3.2 million from the company, Discovery Communications.

The case raises a number of questions. In addition to the First Amendment, a question of legislative power under the Commerce Clause has been raised. The commercial nature of the gambling business seems to satisfy the Commerce Clause’s doubts.

Another issue concerns the ability of state officials to enforce the laws against Internet gambling. Some have argued that the Commerce Clause is too broad to allow the government to regulate interstate gambling. The argument is based on the fact that there is no privacy protection for gambling in the home.

These issues have prompted attacks on the Commerce Clause based on the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. These attacks have been largely unsuccessful. However, it is worth noting that some banks may refuse to process transactions related to illegal Internet wagering.