Using the Internet to play gambling games is a federal crime, albeit a relatively minor one. However, a number of constitutional challenges to the legality of Internet gambling have been made.
These challenges primarily focus on the First Amendment. While the Commerce Clause is the primary legislative mechanism used to make the laws of the land, questions regarding the power of that clause to regulate gambling have arisen.
Among other things, this provision prohibits the acceptance of financial instruments from illegal Internet bets. The statute also provides that banks may not process such transactions.
However, these prohibitions do not go into detail. In fact, the statute does not specify which parties may be involved in the process of transferring financial instruments for illegal Internet bets. The definition of illegal Internet gambling is broad, spanning from a simple exchange of bets to the transmission of a bet over the Internet.
Other challenges have been raised based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, these attacks have had little success. The statute’s limited protection for crimes facilitating speech seems to satisfy the constitutional doubts regarding the Commerce Clause.
In addition, the statute contains a number of other measures to protect gambling transactions. These measures include age verification and appropriate data security standards. Also, a valid gambling license is required. These measures are intended to ensure that the gambling site is legitimate and does not engage in any illicit activities.
Ultimately, though, a state’s ability to enact enforcement policies is limited by the presence of interstate or foreign elements.