Despite the growing popularity of online gambling, the legality of this activity has been uncertain. The legality of internet gambling is not only dependent on the legality of state laws, but also on the federal laws that govern the industry.
In the United States, it is unlawful to transfer money to a gambling website. This includes the transfer of bets. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibits such transfers. In addition, it restricts the use of financial transaction providers.
The law has been challenged on constitutional grounds. The First Amendment and the Due Process Clause have been raised. The Commerce Clause has been attacked as well. These attacks have enjoyed little success. However, there are elements in the Lopez Amendment that have been used to weed out low-level gambling cases.
Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, casinos and other gambling sites may not transfer bets or other financial instruments to a consumer located within a single state. These elements include age verification, location verification, and appropriate data security standards.
The Federal Communications Commission has jurisdiction over common carriers. It has the ability to deny a service or to discontinue facilities. It may also discontinue the leasing or furnishing of facilities. It is not yet clear whether the commission would ban Internet gambling.
In 2005, online poker accounted for 18 percent of all online gambling revenue. In 2005, the revenue from sports book betting amounted to $4 billion. In 2001, the revenue from casino games amounted to around $2 billion.