by Eliz­a­beth Lewis*

In 1961, Con­gress, prompt­ed by then‑U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Robert F. Kennedy, passed the Wire Act as part of an omnibus crime bill intend­ed to fight ram­pant orga­nized crime in the Unit­ed States.1 The Wire Act specif­i­cal­ly sought to pre­vent the use of fed­er­al wires by crime syn­di­cates, like the Amer­i­can Mafia, who used ille­gal gam­bling to raise rev­enue and laun­der mon­ey.2 Despite this tar­get­ed pur­pose, the Wire Act was writ­ten broad­ly to crim­i­nal­ize the use of any “wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ty” for the trans­mis­sion of bet­ting infor­ma­tion, with no cor­re­spond­ing require­ment that the gam­bling be con­nect­ed to orga­nized crim­i­nal activ­i­ty.3 This sweep­ing lan­guage was then sub­ject to only a lim­it­ed carve-out in sub­sec­tion b of the Act (the “Safe Har­bor Pro­vi­sion”), which exempts the trans­mis­sion of “infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the plac­ing of bets,” notably not bets them­selves, and only where such infor­ma­tion was trans­mit­ted “from a State or for­eign coun­try where bet­ting on that sport­ing event or con­test is legal into a State or for­eign coun­try in which such bet­ting is legal.”4 While the Act’s poten­tial­ly broad man­date was con­strued nar­row­ly by the First Cir­cuit in New Hamp­shire Lot­tery Com­mis­sion v. Rosen to encom­pass only sports bet­ting, and not oth­er forms of iGam­ing or online lot­ter­ies,5 the Act’s lan­guage still presents a sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­er to the rapid­ly grow­ing online sports gam­bling indus­try.6

Although courts, while assum­ing that the Act applies only to trans­mis­sions that cross state or nation­al lines, have not­ed that a vio­la­tion of the Act turns on state law,7 nei­ther the statu­to­ry text nor the leg­isla­tive his­to­ry makes such a dis­tinc­tion between inter­state and intrastate trans­mis­sions out­side of the lim­it­ed excep­tions in the Safe Har­bor Pro­vi­sion.8 As not­ed above, under the Pro­vi­sion, the trans­mis­sion of infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the place­ment of bets is per­mit­ted so long as the infor­ma­tion is both sent and received in a state where sports gam­bling is legal.9 How­ev­er, nei­ther pro­vi­sion of the Act makes such dis­tinc­tion when the vio­lat­ing trans­mis­sion involves bets them­selves.10 Thus, the text of the Wire Act could con­ceiv­ably be inter­pret­ed to crim­i­nal­ize any trans­mis­sion of bets on wires of inter­state com­merce, includ­ing the inter­net, with no explic­it pro­tec­tion for sports gam­bling activ­i­ties cur­rent­ly legal­ized by some thir­ty states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.11

How­ev­er, this inter­pre­ta­tion of the Act turns on an open ques­tion of law: whether the Wire Act applies to trans­mis­sions of bets or bet­ting infor­ma­tion on wires of inter­state com­merce with­in a sin­gle state. In oth­er words, the ques­tion is whether it would be in vio­la­tion of the Wire Act to use wires of inter­state com­merce, e.g., tele­phone wires or the inter­net, to place a bet with­in the geo­graph­ic bound­aries of a sin­gle state rather than between two peo­ple in dif­fer­ent states where the trans­mis­sion would nec­es­sar­i­ly cross state lines. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that this read­ing of the statute is pos­si­ble giv­en the statute’s plain lan­guage and ulti­mate­ly advo­cates for a change in the law to pre­vent future fed­er­al inter­fer­ence in a large­ly state-run industry.

*****

Although the applic­a­bil­i­ty of the Wire Act to pure­ly intrastate trans­mis­sions is an unset­tled ques­tion, the fed­er­al government’s sweep­ing Com­merce Clause pow­er pro­vides a cen­tral hook for any gov­ern­ment agency or wily pros­e­cu­tor hop­ing to extend the Wire Act to intrastate bet­ting activ­i­ties. Since the ear­ly 1900s, courts have inter­pret­ed Congress’s abil­i­ty to reg­u­late facil­i­ties “of inter­state com­merce” to include reg­u­la­tion of their intrastate uses.12 Since that time Congress’s pow­er has only broad­ened, reach­ing a vari­ety of acts car­ried out with­in a sin­gle state that involve the use of instru­men­tal­i­ties of inter­state com­merce such as tele­phone wires or the inter­net.13

While the under­stand­ing that Con­gress has the author­i­ty to reach such intrastate trans­mis­sions does not nec­es­sar­i­ly imply that Con­gress intend­ed to do so in the Wire Act, judi­cial inter­pre­ta­tions of anal­o­gous statutes, passed as part of the same omnibus crime bill, add sup­port to such a read­ing. The Trav­el Act,14 enact­ed with the Wire Act as part of a pack­age of statutes intend­ed to curb ille­gal activ­i­ties involv­ing facil­i­ties of inter­state com­merce, has been con­sis­tent­ly inter­pret­ed to require only the use of a facil­i­ty of inter­state com­merce even if that use occurred sole­ly with­in a sin­gle state.15 Such a read­ing is in line with both Supreme Court prece­dent con­cern­ing Com­merce Clause author­i­ty and low­er courts’ appli­ca­tions of the Wire Act specif­i­cal­ly. In New York v. FERC, the Supreme Court found that “trans­mis­sions on the inter­con­nect­ed nation­al grids con­sti­tute trans­mis­sions in inter­state com­merce” when ana­lyz­ing fed­er­al author­i­ty under the Fed­er­al Pow­er Act.16 Low­er courts have applied the Wire Act sim­i­lar­ly and found that the key nexus of the Act is the use of inter­state wire facil­i­ties, not any actu­al inter­state move­ment or trans­mis­sion.17 This prece­dent in con­junc­tion with the broad pol­i­cy goal of assist­ing states in the enforce­ment of their gam­bling laws and pre­vent­ing orga­nized crime18 pro­vide strong sup­port for an inter­pre­ta­tion of the Act that reach­es as broad­ly as the Com­merce Clause allows. In such cas­es, the Wire Act would pro­vide a sec­ondary author­i­ty under which to charge ille­gal sports gam­bling should state penal­ties prove too weak or oth­er­wise inef­fec­tive.19

Nev­er­the­less, there are com­pelling argu­ments against such a read­ing of the Wire Act based on the statute’s text and leg­isla­tive his­to­ry. For one, courts apply­ing the Wire Act have con­sis­tent­ly assumed with­out decid­ing that a Wire Act vio­la­tion requires inter­state move­ment as an ele­ment of the crime based on the phrase “trans­mis­sion in inter­state or for­eign com­merce.”20 Fur­ther­more, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (“DOJ”) explic­it­ly addressed the Wire Act’s applic­a­bil­i­ty to intrastate trans­mis­sions in a 2011 mem­o­ran­dum, stat­ing that “Con­gress pre­sum­ably intend­ed all the pro­hi­bi­tions in the Wire Act . . . to be lim­it­ed to inter­state or for­eign (as opposed to intrastate) wire com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”21 While the DOJ’s state­ments are not bind­ing on courts, they lend addi­tion­al cre­dence to the wide­ly-held assump­tion that the Wire Act applies only to trans­mis­sions that cross state or nation­al lines. Final­ly, the statute’s leg­isla­tive his­to­ry and pur­pose could dis­suade a court from hold­ing that the Act applies to intrastate trans­mis­sions. For one, apply­ing the Act to trans­mis­sions with­in a sin­gle state would do lit­tle to com­bat orga­nized crime, although stray­ing from that pur­pose has not always con­cerned courts in the past.22 And, sec­ond, apply­ing the Act to trans­mis­sions with­in a sin­gle state would only mar­gin­al­ly fur­ther the goal of “assist­ing states in the enforce­ment of their gam­bling laws” giv­en that states where gam­bling is ille­gal are able to pros­e­cute offens­es with­in their bor­ders under their own statutes.23 Instead, as dis­cussed fur­ther below, such an exten­sion of fed­er­al pow­er may prove to be redun­dant of state laws,24 or could be used to usurp state author­i­ty over sports gam­bling.25 Thus, a judge reluc­tant to dis­rupt the sta­tus quo and cau­tious of the bal­ance of pow­er between states and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment may pre­fer to require inter­state move­ment as an ele­ment of the Act despite the text’s broad language.

Notwith­stand­ing con­trary argu­ments, the Wire Act’s applic­a­bil­i­ty to intrastate trans­mis­sions remains a close ques­tion of law that could vary depend­ing on the court address­ing the issue. Were a judge to find that pure­ly intrastate trans­mis­sions of bets are with­in the scope of the Act, the next log­i­cal con­clu­sion may be to find that the Wire Act fed­er­al­ly bars all online sports gam­bling, leav­ing only infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the place­ment of bets exempt­ed by the Safe Har­bor Pro­vi­sion.26 While this result may be some­what obscured by the Act’s con­vo­lut­ed and arcane lan­guage,27 the Wire Act could still become a tool for a shrewd pros­e­cu­tor, judge, or gov­ern­ment agency to end the bur­geon­ing online sports gam­bling indus­try with­out fur­ther autho­riza­tion from Congress.

*****

To best avoid any poten­tial for fed­er­al crim­i­nal­iza­tion of online sports bet­ting, whether it be through judi­cial fiat or DOJ rule­mak­ing, the Wire Act should be revised either (1) to explic­it­ly carve out bets them­selves where legal under state law or (2) to pro­hib­it only bets in “for­eign” com­merce, which may be more dif­fi­cult for states to reg­u­late and pros­e­cute. The sev­er­al states have demon­strat­ed their abil­i­ty to com­pe­tent­ly reg­u­late ille­gal bets placed or received with­in their bor­ders,28 mak­ing the Wire Act a large­ly redun­dant tool when it comes to vio­la­tions of state law. Much like oth­er areas of con­flict between state and fed­er­al law, such as the decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of mar­i­jua­na or even legal­ized pros­ti­tu­tion, the fed­er­al law often has lit­tle prac­ti­cal effect in states where the activ­i­ty has been legal­ized but remains an ever-present threat should the fed­er­al exec­u­tive or judi­cia­ry choose to tar­get bud­ding com­mer­cial activ­i­ties cur­rent­ly reg­u­lat­ed under state law.29 While a fed­er­al posi­tion crim­i­nal­iz­ing online sports gam­bling remains remote, the Pro­fes­sion­al and Ama­teur Sports Pro­tec­tion Act of 1992 (“PAPSA”),30 which essen­tial­ly out­lawed sports bet­ting nation­wide before being over­turned on anti-com­man­deer­ing grounds by the Supreme Court in Mur­phy v. NCAA, indi­cates that such action is not as impos­si­ble as one may think.31

Thus, although such dras­tic action remains only a remote pos­si­bil­i­ty, the Fed­er­al Wire Act should be amend­ed to explic­it­ly fore­close appli­ca­tion to pure­ly intrastate gam­bling and carve out the trans­mis­sion of bets them­selves in the Safe Har­bor Pro­vi­sion. Such a result would bring much-need­ed clar­i­ty and sta­bil­i­ty to the rapid­ly grow­ing sports gam­bling indus­try, allow­ing bet­ting legal­ized by states to flour­ish with­out the threat of fed­er­al prosecution.


* Eliz­a­beth Lewis is a J.D. Can­di­date (2023) at New York Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law. This Con­tri­bu­tion arose from the prob­lem pre­sent­ed at the 2022 Frank A. Schreck Gam­ing Law Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion. The ques­tion pre­sent­ed asked whether the Fed­er­al Wire Act barred the intrastate trans­mis­sion of bets made on wires of inter­state com­merce. This Con­tri­bu­tion rep­re­sents a com­bi­na­tion of argu­ments made for both sides and expos­es the con­tra­dic­tions and prob­lems inher­ent in apply­ing a some­what archa­ic fed­er­al statute to the mod­ern state-run online sports gam­bling indus­try. The views expressed here­in do not nec­es­sar­i­ly reflect the views of the author.

1. See H.R. Rep. No. 87–967 (1961) (explain­ing the Wire Act’s pur­pose to “assist the var­i­ous States and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia in the enforce­ment of their laws per­tain­ing to gam­bling, book­mak­ing, and like offens­es and to aid in the sup­pres­sion of orga­nized gam­bling activ­i­ties”); see also Michelle Minton, The Orig­i­nal Intent of the Wire Act and Its Impli­ca­tions for State-Based Legal­iza­tion of Inter­net Gam­bling, 29 Univ. of Nev. Las Vegas Ctr. for Gam­ing Rsch. Occa­sion­al Paper Series, Sept. 14, 2014, at 1.

2. See Minton, supra note 1 (describ­ing the 1961 pas­sage of the Wire Act as a “pack­age of bills” intend­ed to “get at the heart of mafia orga­ni­za­tions: their money”).

3. 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a) (“Who­ev­er being engaged in the busi­ness of bet­ting or wager­ing know­ing­ly uses a wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ty for the trans­mis­sion in inter­state or for­eign com­merce of bets or wagers or infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the plac­ing of bets or wagers on any sport­ing event or con­test, or for the trans­mis­sion of a wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion which enti­tles the recip­i­ent to receive mon­ey or cred­it as a result of bets or wagers, or for infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the plac­ing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or impris­oned not more than two years, or both.”).

4. 18 U.S.C. § 1084(b). The Safe Har­bor also con­tains an excep­tion for the trans­mis­sion of bet­ting infor­ma­tion “for use in news report­ing of sport­ing events or con­tests.” Id.

5. N.H. Lot­tery Comm’n v. Rosen, 986 F.3d 38, 45 (1st Cir. 2021) (hold­ing that the Wire Act did not apply to the many gov­ern­ment-run lot­tery pro­grams impli­cat­ed in the case, nor did it apply to sim­i­lar forms of inter­net-based gam­ing that did not involve bet­ting on sports).

6. While at the time of the Act’s pas­sage, the “wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion facilit[ies]” at issue were main­ly tele­phone wires, the Act has since been inter­pret­ed to apply to bets placed over the inter­net, thus expos­ing the vast major­i­ty of mod­ern sports bet­ting activ­i­ty to fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion. See, e.g., Unit­ed States v. Lyons, 740 F.3d 702, 716 (1st Cir. 2014) (hold­ing that the Wire Act applies to the inter­net as a facil­i­ty of inter­state commerce).

7. See Lyons, 740 F.3d at 713 (not­ing that the Wire Act does not pro­hib­it law­ful intrastate gam­bling); Unit­ed States. v. Syn­odi­nos, 218 F. Supp. 479, 481 (D. Utah 1963) (“It seems self-evi­dent that an essen­tial ingre­di­ent of the offense is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion from one state into or through anoth­er over the wire facil­i­ty.”); Sagan­sky v. Unit­ed States, 358 F.2d 195, 199 n.4 (1st Cir. 1966) (not­ing that there was “suf­fi­cient evi­dence” to show that the defen­dant knew they were accept­ing a call from anoth­er state there­by sat­is­fy­ing the ele­ment of inter­state movement).

8. See 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a) (cre­at­ing a blan­ket pro­hi­bi­tion on the trans­mis­sion of bets in “inter­state or for­eign com­merce” on “wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ties” with­out spec­i­fy­ing whether the trans­mis­sion must cross state or nation­al lines).

9. 18 U.S.C. § 1084(b).

10. Id. (“Noth­ing in this sec­tion shall be con­strued to pre­vent the trans­mis­sion in inter­state or for­eign com­merce of infor­ma­tion for use in news report­ing of sport­ing events or con­tests, or for the trans­mis­sion of infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the plac­ing of bets or wagers on a sport­ing event or con­test from a State or for­eign coun­try where bet­ting on that sport­ing event or con­test is legal into a State or for­eign coun­try in which such bet­ting is legal.” (empha­sis added)). See also Lyons, 740 F.3d at 713 (“[T]he safe har­bor pro­vi­sion only applies to the trans­mis­sion of ‘infor­ma­tion assist­ing in the plac­ing of bets.’ The safe har­bor pro­vi­sion does not exempt from lia­bil­i­ty the inter­state trans­mis­sion of bets them­selves.” (cit­ing Unit­ed States v. McDo­nough, 835 F.2d 1103, 1104-05 (5th Cir. 1988); Unit­ed States v. Bala, 489 F.3d 334, 342 (8th Cir. 2007)).

11. See Ward Williams, Sports Bet­ting Laws by State, Investo­pe­dia (Aug. 15, 2022), https://www.investopedia.com/sports-betting-laws-by-state-5219064.

12. See Hous., E. & W. T. R. Co. v. Unit­ed States, 234 U.S. 342, 351 (1914) (uphold­ing con­gres­sion­al reg­u­la­tion of intrastate train lines as instru­men­tal­i­ties of inter­state commerce).

13. See e.g., Unit­ed States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 558 (1995) (“Con­gress is empow­ered to reg­u­late and pro­tect the instru­men­tal­i­ties of inter­state com­merce . . . even though the threat may come only from intrastate activ­i­ties.”); Unit­ed States v. MacE­wan, 445 F.3d 237, 243–46 (3d Cir. 2006) (hold­ing that the mere use of the inter­net sat­is­fied a fed­er­al child pornog­ra­phy statute’s inter­state com­merce require­ment); Unit­ed States v. Rich­e­son, 338 F.3d 653, 660 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[I]t is suf­fi­cient that the defen­dant used an inter­state com­merce facil­i­ty in an intra state [sic] fash­ion.”); Unit­ed States v. Marek, 238 F.3d 310, 321 (5th Cir. 2001) (inter­pret­ing the Wire Act to find that the phrase “in inter­state or for­eign com­merce” applies to the “facil­i­ty,” and not the “use” of such facil­i­ty in an inter­state fashion).

14. 18 U.S.C. § 1952.

15. See Unit­ed States v. Nad­er, 542 F.3d 713, 722 (9th Cir. 2008) (con­clud­ing that intrastate tele­phone calls made in fur­ther­ance of an intrastate pros­ti­tu­tion busi­ness vio­lat­ed the Trav­el Act because tele­phones were a “facil­i­ty in inter­state or for­eign com­merce”); Unit­ed States v. Bak­er, 82 F.3d 273, 275 (8th Cir. 1996) (uphold­ing the applic­a­bil­i­ty of the Trav­el Act to pure­ly intrastate ATM use). See also the Mur­der-For-Hire Statute, which crim­i­nal­izes the use of inter­state wire facil­i­ties to aid in the com­mis­sion of mur­der. 18 U.S.C. § 1958 (1984). As with the Trav­el Act, cir­cuit courts, includ­ing the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in Unit­ed States v. Perez, 414 F.3d 302, 305 (2d Cir. 2005), and the Sev­enth Cir­cuit in Rich­e­son, 338 F.3d at 660, con­sis­tent­ly find any use of a tele­phone suf­fi­cient to sup­port a con­vic­tion, with­out need to demon­strate inter­state move­ment as a sep­a­rate ele­ment of the crime.

16. 535 U.S. 1, 16 (2002) (inter­pret­ing the Fed­er­al Pow­er Act, 16 U.S.C. § 824, to “unam­bigu­ous­ly” grant the Fed­er­al Ener­gy Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mis­sion the author­i­ty to reg­u­late pure­ly intrastate trans­mis­sions of elec­tric energy).

17. See e.g., Unit­ed States v. McDo­nough, 835 F.2d 1103, 1104 (5th Cir. 1988) (not­ing that the Wire Act “appears as part of an inde­pen­dent fed­er­al pol­i­cy aimed at those who would, in fur­ther­ance of any gam­bling activ­i­ty, employ any means with­in direct fed­er­al con­trol” (empha­sis added)); Sagan­sky v. Unit­ed States, 358 F.2d 195, 200 (1st Cir. 1966) (“[Sec­tion] 1084(a) does not pun­ish the mere trans­mis­sion of bets or wagers, but rather the ‘use’ of inter­state wire com­mu­ni­ca­tion facil­i­ties for their transmission.”).

18. See H.R. Rep. No. 87–967 (1961) (“The pur­pose of the bill is to assist the var­i­ous States and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia in the enforce­ment of their laws per­tain­ing to gam­bling, book­mak­ing, and like offenses.”).

19. See Kei­th C. Miller, Sports Bet­ting Integri­ty at Risk: The Role of the Wire Act, 61 San­ta Clara L. Rev. 247, 268 (2020) (“[The Wire Act] gave the states a pow­er­ful ally in their fight against orga­nized crime that oper­at­ed across state lines, with fed­er­al inves­tiga­tive and law enforce­ment resources play­ing an essen­tial role.”).

20. See, for exam­ple, Sagan­sky, 358 F.2d at 200, in which the court took pains to estab­lish that, although the defen­dant may not have known pre­cise­ly which state a call to place a bet was com­ing from, there was suf­fi­cient evi­dence to show that the defen­dant knew he was accept­ing a long-dis­tance call from anoth­er state, there­by know­ing­ly vio­lat­ing the act. See also Lyons, 740 F.3d at 713 (not­ing that “the Wire Act pro­hibits inter­state gam­bling with­out crim­i­nal­iz­ing law­ful intrastate gambling”).

21. Dep’t of Just., Opin­ion Let­ter on Whether Pro­pos­als by Ill. and N.Y. to Use the Inter­net to Sell Lot­tery Tick­ets Vio­late the Wire Act 1, 7 (Sept. 20, 2011). The DOJ mem­o­ran­dum was authored to clar­i­fy the department’s view of the Act’s applic­a­bil­i­ty to state-run lot­ter­ies, like the one at issue in N.H. Lot­tery Comm’n v. Rosen, 986 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 2021). How­ev­er, the Depart­ment took the time to clar­i­fy their under­stand­ing of the Act’s scope, per­haps out of con­cern that pros­e­cu­tors would charge intrastate gam­bling on wires of inter­state com­merce as vio­la­tions of the Act.

22. See, e.g., Unit­ed States v. Cor­rar, 512 F. Supp. 2d 1280, 1286 (N.D. Ga. 2007) (“That the Unit­ed States has often used the Wire Act to pros­e­cute book­mak­ers does not estop the Gov­ern­ment from bring­ing charges against oth­er per­sons whose con­duct the Act criminalizes.”)

23. H.R. Rep. No. 87–967.

24. Cur­rent­ly only Alaba­ma, Alas­ka, Ida­ho, Ken­tucky, Maine, South Car­oli­na, Texas, Utah, and Ver­mont have no pro­hi­bi­tions on sports bet­ting with no appar­ent plans to do so in the future. See ​​Amer­i­can Gam­ing Asso­ci­a­tion Inter­ac­tive Map: Sports Bet­ting in the U.S. https://www.americangaming.org/research/state-gaming-map/ (last vis­it­ed Nov. 16, 2022).

25. See, e.g., NCAA v. Gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey, 730 F.3d 208, 2­36 (3d Cir. 2013) (find­ing that New Jer­sey law con­flict­ed with fed­er­al sports gam­bling pol­i­cy under the now over­turned Pro­fes­sion­al and Ama­teur Sports Pro­tec­tion Act (PAPSA), 28 U.S.C. § 3701, and was pre­empt­ed by fed­er­al law).

26. 18 U.S.C. § 1084(a).

27. See Antho­ny Cabot, The Absence of a Com­pre­hen­sive Fed­er­al Pol­i­cy Toward Inter­net and Sports Wager­ing and a Pro­pos­al for Change, 17 Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 271, 282 (2010) (“The Wire Act, in its entire­ty, reads poor­ly and in parts, the Act is near­ly incomprehensible.”)

28. See e.g., Peo­ple v. Perez, 848 N.Y.S.2d 525, 526 (Sup. Ct., Bronx Coun­ty 2007) (uphold­ing a New York State pros­e­cu­tion of an ille­gal gam­bling enter­prise); State ex rel. Tyson v. Ted’s Game Enters., 893 So. 2d 376, 381 (Ala. 2004) (affirm­ing a judg­ment that gam­ing machines vio­lat­ed the state’s crim­i­nal gam­bling statutes and uphold­ing their seizure by state law enforce­ment offi­cials); Bax­ter v. State, 66 S.W.3d 494, 496 (Tex. App. 2001) (uphold­ing defendant’s con­vic­tion and crim­i­nal sen­tenc­ing for vio­la­tion of the Texas anti-gam­bling statute).

29. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly true giv­en the emer­gence of more recent fed­er­al laws reg­u­lat­ing online gam­ing activ­i­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Unlaw­ful Inter­net Gam­bling Enforce­ment Act of 2006, 31 U.S.C. § 5361, which reg­u­lates the receipt of pay­ments gen­er­at­ed by unlaw­ful gam­ing activity.

30. 28 U.S.C. § 3702. PAPSA effec­tive­ly out­lawed sports bet­ting nation­wide, mak­ing it unlaw­ful for “a gov­ern­men­tal enti­ty to spon­sor, oper­ate, adver­tise, pro­mote, license, or autho­rize by law or com­pact,” or for “a per­son to spon­sor, oper­ate, adver­tise, or pro­mote, pur­suant to the law or com­pact of a gov­ern­men­tal enti­ty,” a vari­ety of sports bet­ting activities.

31. 138 S. Ct. 1461, 1478 (2018) (over­turn­ing PAPSA on anti-com­man­deer­ing grounds, find­ing that the statute pur­port­ed to instruct state leg­is­la­tures on “what they may and may not do”).