Almost half of the states in the United States now offer online gambling, including sports betting. The buzz has been especially high around sports betting. In July, online gambling in Kansas became legal. However, it was a long road to arrive. The state took nearly a year to officially allow sports betting in the state. In May, Governor Laura Kelly signed legislation into law, allowing residents to wager on sporting events. The law is set to sunset in 2022. However, the state regulations allow each casino in the state to offer online IN sportsbooks. The gaming commission retains the authority to regulate live betting options, and also maintains discretion over the types of sports betting that can be offered.
The federal criminal statutes implicated by illegal Internet gambling include the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Wire Act. These statutes also implicate Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions. In addition to the federal criminal statutes, the state’s laws also contribute to the issue. In the first month, the Kansas sports betting industry generated $1 million in revenue. The industry is expected to expand over time. Several online poker sites have launched operations in Michigan. Among the major players are BetMGM, WSOP, and PokerStars.
The Commerce Clause of the Constitution has been invoked to challenge the power of the federal government to regulate and prosecute Internet gambling. However, these attacks have been largely unsuccessful. Although the Commerce Clause provides for the regulation of interstate commerce, it does not guarantee free speech. The First Amendment provides for a limited level of free speech protection for crimes that facilitate speech. However, when the financial transactions are conducted within the United States, due process arguments become difficult to justify.
Several cases have been decided on constitutional grounds, including the United States v. Nicolaou and United States v. Mick. In the latter case, the Sixth Circuit held that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to regulate and prosecute Internet gambling because the law would be unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. However, the Federal Communications Commission may choose to cease supplying facilities or discontinue leasing them to online gambling operators.
The federal criminal statutes implicated in illegal Internet gambling are also implicated by Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations (RICO) provisions. These provisions are aimed at preventing illegal gambling business activities. The statutes also involve several other criminal statutes, including the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (Johnson Act), the Travel Act, and the Wire Act.
The federal criminal statutes that are involved in the illegal Internet gambling issue include the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the Wire Act, the Travel Act, the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (Johnson) and the Racketeer Influenced and Crooked Organizations (RICO) provisions. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has produced a report that provides an overview of the issue. The report includes text of the statutes and citations to state gambling laws. The report is available in an abridged version.
The first gambling venue to offer online services was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. This was the first venue to offer online gambling to the general public. Since then, a number of other gambling venues have launched. Some of these have been online casinos, while others have been virtual poker rooms.