Internet gambling is a type of wagering that involves placing a bet on the result of an event over the internet. This includes betting on virtual poker, casinos and sports wagering. The first venue for online gaming opened to the general public in October 1994 with ticketing for the Liechtenstein International Lottery.
The Law: Federal Criminal Statutes
The United States has enacted federal criminal laws against certain types of Internet gambling, although these laws have been challenged on constitutional grounds. These challenges typically involve issues involving Congress’s legislative power under the Commerce Clause, restrictions imposed by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech and due process concerns about regulating activities occurring at least in part overseas. This article provides an overview of these statutes and the crimes they are used to enforce. It is in abridged form, without footnotes or full citations, and appears as CRS Report RS21984, Internet Gambling: An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Law.
This article is not intended to be a comprehensive legal resource on the law of gambling. It is a brief summary of the most significant aspects of the laws involved in Internet gambling. Those interested in more detailed analysis of these matters may wish to consult other related CRS reports or legal resources such as the Marquette Sports Law Journal, which published an article titled, “Contra, Blackjack or Bust: Can U.S. Law Stop Internet Gambling?”