While there have been some attempts to challenge federal gambling laws, they have been unsuccessful. Several legal challenges have been made based on constitutional principles including the Commerce Clause, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, and the Due Process Clause. These arguments have been mostly dismissed because of the commercial nature of the gambling business. In addition, free speech objections have been encumbered by the limited protections under the First Amendment for crimes that facilitate speech. Finally, due process arguments have suffered because financial transactions within the United States are involved.
Despite this, legal online gambling has been on the rise in several U.S. states for several years now. New York recently legalized online poker and sports betting, and the state of Ohio has also regulated online casinos. Sports betting is expected to go live in Ohio on Jan. 1, 2023. Pennsylvania has also recently legalized online gambling.
While federal law does not directly regulate online gambling, states have a responsibility to protect their citizens. The federal government has imposed many regulations that apply to gambling. Federal law requires a license for online casinos and poker sites and has strict requirements for registering. For more information, read the CRS Report RS21984.
Montana: Montana is one of the few states that have legalized online sports betting. However, the state’s online gambling market is still small. It is likely that there will only be a few legal sports books in the state.