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Geolocation and Federalism on the Internet: Cutting Internet Gambling’s Gordian Knot

35 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2009 Last revised: 18 May 2014

Kevin F. King

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Date Written: July 14, 2009

Abstract

Conventional wisdom dictates that the Internet is a medium in which federalism is destined to fail. By virtue of its decentralized design, the Internet naturally resists regulation by a diverse set of government actors. Indeed, courts have reasoned that federalism on the Internet is either technologically impossible or constitutionally prohibited. The emergence of geolocation technologies, which make it possible to quickly, cheaply, and accurately identify an Internet user’s location, challenges this dominant understanding and opens the door to new approaches that could radically alter the way electronic commerce is governed. To illustrate this point, this Essay explores the ways that such technologies could be used to make Internet gambling regulation more responsive to longstanding federalism principles. As demonstrated below, geolocation technologies have the potential to make Internet gambling law both more effective and more efficient by enabling each state to enforce its own substantive regulations.

Keywords: Internet Gambling, Federalism, Geolocation, Jurisdiction, UIGEA, Yahoo, Congress, Treasury, Domain

JEL Classification: D78, D72, D73, K00, K23, K30, K42, K49, K40, L50

Suggested Citation

King, Kevin F., Geolocation and Federalism on the Internet: Cutting Internet Gambling’s Gordian Knot (July 14, 2009). Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, Vol. XI, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433634

Kevin F. King (Contact Author)

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ( email )

VA
United States

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