Online gambling refers to the use of the Internet to participate in games of chance, such as sports betting, online poker, or casinos. Some of these games are legal, while others can be deemed unlawful.
In the United States, a casino or gaming facility is legal if it is physically located in a state that has legalized the activity. Despite this fact, the presence of an interstate element in a gambling establishment frustrates the policy of enforcement of state law.
The presence of an interstate element has also prompted questions about whether the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution protects the right to engage in gambling. While the commercial nature of the gambling business seems to satisfy this question, it is not clear that the First Amendment protects the right to gamble.
Another issue to consider is the varying laws that govern different states. Although three states have deemed online gambling legal, many other states are still considering legislation.
Some of the major concerns with on-line gambling include security issues and a lack of effective monitoring. However, despite these issues, the Internet has proven to be a boon for the gambling industry.
In a bid to address this issue, Congress has introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection Act of 2013. This bill would establish a federal standard to govern internet gambling. It is believed that uniform standards would make it easier for companies to expand their businesses.
A related bill introduced by New York Republican congressman Peter King in the House of Representatives seeks to create a new office of “gambling oversight.” Attached to the Treasury Department, the office would be responsible for ensuring that the federal government imposes appropriate regulations on the industry.