The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a
bill passed last year in an 11th hour port security bill, is being challenged
as unconstitutional by a gambling trade group. The federal government is
arguing for UIGEA’s constitutionality, holding that Congress has the right to
make such laws to regulate interstate commerce.
Despite already missing its deadline to provide regulations
required by the law, the federal government will have little problem winning
this battle. First, never a good sign, the gambling group must first show that
it even has standing to bring the suit.
Even if the group prevails on that point, there is little legal
ground on which to stand. There are no free speech issues. There are no true
privacy issues. The only small chance the group has is to somehow show that
online gambling is outside the purview of subjects that federal legislators may
regulate. The federal government may regulate any “interstate commerce.” It
is difficult to believe that online
gambling transactions, involving banking institutions, international wire
transfers and national advertising are not interstate commerce. The gambling
group’s chances at prevailing, however, likely depend on that argument.
There is little question that the policy the gambling industry proposes is
correct, as previously discussed in CyberLawg. There are better legal opportunities
in international law, but the gambling group’s legal likelihood of prevailing
in this federal suit is slim.