The legality of online gambling has been challenged on a number of constitutional grounds. The Commerce Clause, the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, and the Due Process Clause have all been challenged. However, these arguments have met with little success. Commerce Clause doubts are addressed by the fact that gambling is a commercial activity, while free speech objections are overcome by the fact that the First Amendment only protects crimes facilitating speech. Due process arguments also face challenges as the transactions involved are financial in nature.
Legalities of online gambling vary by jurisdiction. Gambling is primarily a matter of state law, but federal law often supports state laws. Federal law can frustrate state enforcement policies, however. Some states are concerned that the Internet will be used to bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. For example, the American Banker reported that “sporting news” websites were using illegal online gambling sites.
Ohio has already legalized certain types of online gambling. The state has not yet legalized online sports betting or online casinos, but it is moving quickly toward legalizing more comprehensive online gaming options. The state passed House Bill 29 in late December, and the Ohio Casino Control Commission is currently licensing businesses. Ultimately, the state may legalize online gambling in Ohio by the end of 2023.