Gambling is the act of placing wagers on the outcome of a contest or other chance. This includes games like sports betting, casinos, pool-selling, lotteries, bingo, and virtual poker.
The Internet has facilitated the development of this industry and has also allowed gambling activities to be performed through mobile applications. Some online casinos offer live scores and apps, allowing gamblers to place bets on sports games through a mobile device. Despite the convenience of online gambling, it has been illegal to engage in illegal Internet gambling.
Illegal Internet gambling is punishable by up to seven federal criminal statutes. These include the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
In a January 2008 article, the Washington Post reported that PayPal, a popular financial institution, was involved in some of the illegal online gambling transactions. A federal prosecutor warned the company that it could be prosecuted.
Online gambling was also prohibited by the state of Washington. However, state officials were concerned that the internet might be used to facilitate the introduction of illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. To address this concern, the state passed a law prohibiting websites that advertise gambling from doing so in the state.
Although some attacks have been made based on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, these efforts have been unsuccessful.
There are also questions about the power of the Commerce Clause. For instance, the ad campaign by Discovery Communications, which accepted ads from Tropical Paradise, was deemed unlawful because it was an advertisement related to the distribution of gambling materials.