Online Gambling and the Constitution

Gambling Nov 10, 2022

Federal gambling laws are being challenged on constitutional grounds. These attacks have been based on the Commerce Clause, the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, and the Due Process Clause. While the Commerce Clause objection has had limited success, the First Amendment’s limited protection for crimes that facilitate speech encumbers free speech objections. Due process arguments are also weakened when financial transactions are involved.


Despite its widespread popularity, online gambling is illegal in many countries. While online poker is legal in Nevada, the United Kingdom and many other European nations prohibit it, most states and provinces in Canada do allow it. In addition, several countries in the Caribbean have legalized online gambling in various forms. However, before you start gambling online, make sure that the website you’re using has a license issued by a local gaming authority.

The legality of online gambling depends on where you live. For example, some countries in Latin America have made online gambling legal in their territory, and others have outlawed it. In the United Kingdom, however, gambling sites located outside the country are allowed to serve UK citizens only if they’re licensed by the Gambling Commission. Prior to 2014, gambling sites outside the UK were allowed to accept UK customers, but this is not currently allowed. Nevertheless, the strong regulation and clear legislation in the UK make it an attractive market for operators.


While traditional casino gambling has long been recognized as a money laundering risk, the Internet offers patrons anonymity and less monitoring. Enforcement of online gambling is likely to present similar challenges with less watchful eyes. However, recent actions by Treasury’s FinCEN have helped the industry become more transparent and accountable. In January, the agency fined an online gambling company $384,000 after it admitted to having insufficient controls that exposed it to money laundering. A FinCEN representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While illegal internet gambling is covered under federal criminal statutes, it is difficult to enforce them against a single entity. State laws and regulations govern the activities of gaming sites, and federal law only bolsters state laws in cases where foreign or interstate elements are involved. However, the Internet also provides state authorities with a unique opportunity to combat the spread of illegal gambling.

Constitutional objections

There are several Constitutional objections to online gambling, but a majority of the justices sided with the plaintiffs in a recent Supreme Court case. They argued that the ban violated the Constitution by preventing citizens from exploiting their skills and earning a living. Furthermore, they argued that the ban was disproportionate to the objective it aimed to achieve. In light of the court’s reasoning, the ban should not stand.

There are many possible ways the government can regulate internet gambling. However, the most viable method is ISP-based filtering. Other government-imposed barriers to online gambling will be briefly examined.

Regulatory scheme

The Regulatory scheme for online gambling stipulates that online gaming operators must follow certain rules to protect the interests of players. One of the key requirements of a regulatory scheme is that online gambling operators must disclose certain information to the federal government, including the age of patrons and the identity of system operators. The department must also notify active licensees in writing of any updates to these rules.

The new rules also require online gaming operators to notify the department before installing any significant changes to their systems. This must include identifying the critical files and functions and explaining the reason for the change. If the changes are approved, the online gaming operator may then install them. However, they must notify the department at least ten days in advance.