The Supreme Court’s Recent Decision in Las Vegas Gambling Casinos
The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress must regulate interstate gambling by making it mandatory for the states to allow for running sports gambling across state lines. This is called the National Jurisdiction Clause. I think that this makes sense and there are a few reasons why. For starters, if a sports book operates in one state but accepts wagers from people in other states, then that can constitute as gambling even though the actual wager is being taken out of state. That could be seen as an example of a “Interstate gamblers bet” and therefore there is an interstate gambling statute that makes sure the law is followed.
There is a different reason to limit how the law should operate. One that is perhaps even more important. That is the reason that there is no law making it illegal to transfer funds to an online gambling site from a credit card account. As long as the online site is regulated by the law of the state, then the law will apply. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
However, there are problems with this approach. One major problem is that Congress has never made anyone who receives a wire transfer from an online gambling site criminally liable for doing so. The only person who might be held responsible under the law is the one who issued the fraudulent order to wire the money. This is a rather vague rule. Therefore, no one’s particular liability here will have any relevance in the Supreme Court case.
The other problem is that Congress has never tried to impose any tax on sports betting. Therefore, there is no mechanism by which the IRS can punish someone merely because he conducted an activity which falls within the ambit of gambling. For instance, it would be difficult to go after someone who just happens to be a gambler. The law simply does not permit such conduct because gambling is not an activity that is conducted with an intention to make a profit.
Is the Supreme Court to correct in saying that Congress never intended for gambling to be treated as gambling? Many people think so. However, the Supreme Court has never said so. It is true that Congress has passed a law, the Gambling Revenue Act, which imposes some tax on people who engage in sports betting. However, that law only deals with the proceeds obtained from the sale of wagers.
The law does not apply to deposits or dividends, and it does not apply to lottery tickets either. It is very strange that the Supreme Court insists on subjecting all of these activities to a general law which covers only gambling. If Congress really wanted to tax sports betting, it should have introduced a law which prohibited the states from regulating sports gambling. That would certainly have had an impact on the volume of gambling that occurs.
The Supremacy Court’s reasoning in today’s case makes no sense. If Congress really wanted to tax sports betting, it could have passed a law that specifically addressed the issue. It is not that difficult to conceive of a statutory scheme for sports betting that would not fall within the Court’s jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, the lawmaking process in Congress is strewn with precedents, many of which are very difficult to interpret. It is much more likely that Congress will decide another matter in the near future. If it cannot make a decision on its own, it is the appropriate responsibility of the courts to do so.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has demonstrated very little interest in interpreting our law. Although there are some very important cases decided lately, such as Citizens United and McCutcheon, the Supreme Court has refused to take any cases involving aspects of the law that are currently before the Court. For this reason, most of the current decisions of the Supreme Court related to the law of gambling involve arguments about whether the law itself is constitutional. Such an argument would require a strong basis in constitutional law, as the framers of the Constitution never intended the law to apply to all areas of human activity.