Anti-Online Gambling Law Challenged In Court

from the but-we-need-to-protect-our-ports dept

A year ago, as part of a larger bill that was supposed to be about "protecting our ports," Congress banned online gambling. While there's some back and forth over the law (and some politicians seem interested in changing the law), representatives of the gambling industry have gone to court to get the law declared unconstitutional, violating an individual's right to gamble in the privacy of their own home. The judge said that she expects to rule within 30 days, so it should be a relatively quick turnaround -- though, it's almost inevitable that a series of appeals will follow no matter what the outcome. So don't expect any final outcome on this question for a few years. The Justice Department, of course, has no problem with the law and is asking for the case to be dismissed, even if they haven't even bothered to enforce the law (yet).


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 7:33pm

    Yeah, everything's about 'protecting us' now.

    I guess the meaning of control and protection are the same thing in the eyes of politicians.

    AKA Doublespeak

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    the fool on the hill, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 8:53pm

    yea we will call it selfsafe or something along those lines

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2007 @ 11:27pm

    Movie = Reality

    Didn't a movie show a government that justified its actions as "for your protection"? Oh Yeah!. V for Vendetta. Wheres my Guy Fawkes mask?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    the Dawg, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 2:56am

    Re: Movie = Reality

    Remember, Remember, the fifth of November...Ah just show up and I'll give you mine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Sep 27th, 2007 @ 6:28am

    Question?

    Is it legal to gamble in the privacy of your own home? I always thought that having a poker party was fun but illegal if money/property was changing hands. I'd guess from the fact that they can't track your income/losses and collect the taxes from you, same reason for online gambling.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Jack, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    I was under the impression that it is legal to have a poker game in your own home as long as you weren't taking any kind of rake for the game. (meaning, you're not charging people anything to play there)

    Maybe I'm wrong.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 7:06am

    It is legal (in most states) to play poker in your own home as long as there is no rake.

    On-line sites have a rake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Willton, Sep 27th, 2007 @ 9:06pm

    Last I checked

    there was no right to gamble in the Constitution.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    A. L. Flanagan, Sep 28th, 2007 @ 8:06am

    Re: Last I checked

    Willton said:

    >> there was no right to gamble in the Constitution.

    We need better civics classes in this country. The right to gamble doesn't have to be in the Constitution. The Constitution doesn't grant rights to people; it grants rights to the government, then severely restricts those rights.

    What DOES have to be in the Constitution, and isn't as far as I can see, is permission for the government to regulate gambling. Alas, online gambling is probably covered by the "interstate commerce" clause, but a poker game in my house? Highly doubtful.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Willton, Sep 28th, 2007 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Last I checked

    We need better civics classes in this country. The right to gamble doesn't have to be in the Constitution. The Constitution doesn't grant rights to people; it grants rights to the government, then severely restricts those rights.

    Perhaps you haven't actually read the Constitution. Otherwise you'd know that the first 8 Amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, grant rights to citizens of the United States.

    What DOES have to be in the Constitution, and isn't as far as I can see, is permission for the government to regulate gambling. Alas, online gambling is probably covered by the "interstate commerce" clause, but a poker game in my house? Highly doubtful.

    Perhaps you did not read the blurb Mike wrote. This case has nothing to do with the Commerce Clause as per the complaint. The complaint is saying that it infringes on his right to gamble in the privacy of his own home; it is not making a case against Congress's commerce power. If someone is going to claim that anti-online gambling laws are unconstitutional for that reason, then there has to be something in the U.S. Constitution that would grant a U.S. citizen that right. I'm sure the claimant is going to rely on the Due Process Clause and fundamental rights necessary for a free society, but there's nothing historically fundamental about gambling in one's own home.

    You're missing the point. This isn't about "poker night"; this is about online gambling. Online gambling is not solely confined to one's own home. Congress has the power to regulate that kind of behavior as per the Commerce Clause, and to say that it doesn't is foolhardy, even under Rehnquist's "substantial effects" test. If you don't like the law, talk to your Congressman.

     

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  11.  
    icon
    Martin (profile), Oct 10th, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Last I checked

    The Constitution DOESN'T grant rights. It enumerates them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Nathan, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Last I checked

    Martin is right, the constitution does not grant rights, it enumerates them. Hence, the wording of the 9th amendment "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people". It is unconstitutional for the federal government to make the law because that was not granted to it. It would be up to the states per the 10th amendment "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.".

    I would argue the states don't have that right either ("or to the people"). What we fail to realize is that the constitution was created as a means to give people in the USA personal freedom, and as long as your excersize of freedom does not encroach upon another's, then it should be considered lawful. By gambling, each party voluntarily submits their wealth to a game of chance (yes, I know there is skill involved). The key word is "voluntarily". If I want to gamble, and my neighbor wants to gamble, why should any part of the government have a say?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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