In some provinces in Canada and some nations in the Caribbean, online gambling is legal. However, there are a number of countries and states where the act is illegal. Online gambling is defined as “the process of placing bets or wagers using the Internet”. It includes sports betting, casinos, virtual poker, and other forms of games of chance or skill.
The US Department of Justice has announced that the Wire Act will apply to all forms of Internet gambling. This is the first time that the US government has enforced its laws against online gambling.
A federal criminal case has been filed against three of the largest Internet poker companies. The owner of Seals with Clubs, a bitcoin poker site, is charged with money laundering and violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Several bills were introduced in the Senate to regulate online gambling. These bills would have prohibited most forms of internet gambling, except for state lotteries.
In April 2007, Representative Barney Frank drafted HR 2046, a bill that would modify the UIGEA and require the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to license internet gambling facilities. Those involved in these proceedings argued that the legislation is unconstitutional and would inhibit states from protecting themselves against online gambling.
The Commerce Clause has been used as an argument against the bill’s constitutionality. However, this has not been a successful attack.
The First Amendment has also been used to challenge federal gambling regulations. However, it is difficult to argue that the right of free speech is violated when a crime is used to facilitate a speech.