Almost 10 million Americans now use online gambling. This includes casinos, sports betting, virtual poker and more. While gambling is primarily a matter of state law, some federal criminal statutes are implicated.
The United States has a long history of gambling and the gambling industry has grown dramatically. Today, the industry has over $30 billion in annual revenue. Online gambling is a very popular pastime for adults. However, there are questions about whether gambling is legal under the First Amendment.
The Commerce Clause has been questioned in regard to gambling, and questions are being raised regarding the ability of state officials to enforce laws on the internet. Some states are concerned that Internet gambling can bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. The commercial nature of the gambling business may also satisfy doubts about the constitutionality of the Commerce Clause.
There is little evidence to support the notion that gambling is a form of free speech, and attacks based on this right have failed to produce a significant impact. However, in some cases, such as the case of the K23 Group Financial Services, the Constitution’s Due Process Clause is being used to attack gambling.
A 2010 survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 16.0% of college-aged males use internet gambling sites at least once a month. This is a dramatic increase from 4.4% in 2008. The survey also found that sports betting was the leading contributor to total gambling for high school-aged females.