Gambling Laws


Gambling is when a person or group of people puts money in a game of chance with the expectation of winning something else of value. This includes betting on sporting events, conducting lotteries, selling chances, and pool-selling.

Gambling laws vary by state. Some states require a certain age for gambling. For example, New Jersey requires that a gambler be 21 years old. Others, like Delaware, permit sports lotteries. In addition, some states have a different minimum age for each form of gambling.

Internet-based gambling has gained widespread popularity in recent years. It is now estimated that more than a third of the US gambling market is represented by online casinos. These sites are typically equipped with advanced software that allows gamblers to play a variety of games. They also feature a number of promotions and bonuses. Online gambling offers convenience, but it is also known to be addictive. Moreover, it presents various risks including criminal activity and the use of children.

The federal government has made several attempts to regulate internet-based gambling. These efforts have been challenged on a number of constitutional grounds. However, the courts have ruled against these attacks. Most of the attempts to regulate Internet-based gambling have relied on the Commerce Clause doctrine, which essentially posits that the federal government has the power to regulate such activities.

In 2001, about 8 million individuals participated in online gambling. At that time, online gambling revenue topped $830 million. By 2008, the market had grown to over $21 billion. Since then, revenues have continued to rise.

The Department of Justice has argued that all forms of Internet-based gambling are illegal. Illegal gambling business owners may be fined under this title. Also, federal law prohibits the transportation of lottery tickets between states. But federal law has a few exceptions. Additionally, gambling activity on Native American land has been regulated by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The United States has a long history of regulating gambling. Historically, state officials have expressed concern that the internet could be used to transport illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. However, the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine has made it difficult for states to enforce their gambling laws. Because the Internet is a global medium, it also poses a challenge to state enforcement policies.

Several cases have been decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Fourth Circuit, and the Sixth Circuit. One of these cases was the case of United States v. Mick, which involved bartenders and managers of establishments with video poker machines.

The Department of Justice also pursued Internet-based gambling on a federal level. K23 Group Financial Services was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. 1955, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Similarly, PayPal was warned by the U.S. attorney general that it would face prosecution if it did not stop doing business.

However, the Department of Justice is not certain that its laws will preempt state actions in the Internet-based gambling arena. That is because the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine posits that the federal government has power over all of the commerce conducted within the United States.