Online gambling is a booming industry. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the global online gambling market is projected to reach 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. Currently, ten percent of Americans bet at least once a week on casino games.
Laws regarding online gambling are mostly governed by state law. However, federal law has also come into play. The Justice Department has announced that it will enforce the Wire Act, which prohibits accepting financial instruments from illegal Internet bets.
In addition to regulating commercial activity, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) also contains several factors that can help to weed out low-level cases. For instance, the statute contains a “best practices” element, which entails implementing data security standards and age verification.
Aside from the federal law, states are likely to exercise their own regulatory authority, based on their own state laws. These laws will vary from state to state, though each is largely independent in their approach to legalization.
Several bills have been introduced in Congress to regulate internet gambling. In 2007, Representative Barney Frank introduced HR 2046, which would modify UIGEA to increase consumer protection and enforcement. Also, the Senate has passed a bill limiting online gambling. Similarly, Senators Jon Kyl and Bob Goodlatte have also introduced bills to restrict online gambling.
As with all other forms of legislation, there have been many challenges to these new laws. Some of the more successful attacks have been based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, whereas others have relied on the Commerce Clause.