The legality of online casino games in the US is always a topic that numerous players find interesting. As Las Vegas is widely popular as the place to be when you wish to enjoy a thrilling gambling experience, many wish to be able to enjoy the same excitement when they are in the comfort of their own homes.
This being said, players based in the US should check whether they are allowed to gamble online, as the virtual gaming scene in the US is strictly regulated. You can read below an overview of the regulation landscape.
Is Online Gambling Legal in the US?
One common mistake among US citizens is that online gambling is illegal in some parts of the US. This cannot be further from the truth as the federal law does not forbid online gambling and players are allowed to place wagers online. According to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, no gambling business should knowingly accept payments that are connected to wagers placed online. That said, the act does not specify that placing bets online is also illegal.
Many US players think that it is illegal to use their credit cards or another payment method to knowingly transfer funds into offshore online gambling sites. There is no federal law, however, that has specifically deemed such action as illegal. To feel safe, however, US citizens are advised to check the rules of their Municipality or County and make sure that transferring funds to offshore casinos and betting sites is not prohibited. An additional step you can take is to check whether someone in your state has been prosecuted for illegal online gambling.
In most cases, there is not a specific law that has deemed wagering online at an offshore website illegal. What is more, many of the laws have been passed way before online gambling was a thing. This is why there are hardly any consequences for US players who gamble online at virtual casinos based outside the US.
Legality of Online Gambling in Different States
While the federal law may be vague, many state lawmakers have taken serious steps towards the decriminalization of online gambling. This is why quite a few US citizens can legally make bets on different casino games and sports events online. Currently, three forms of online gambling have been legalized in some US states and those include online casinos, online poker and online sports betting.
At the moment, the only two states that allow their citizens to participate in all three forms of online gambling are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The state of Delaware has legalized online casinos and online poker. The latter can also be played legally online if you are based in Nevada. The same state, along with Indiana, West Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois, has legalized online sports betting.
The sports betting regulation outlook for the future raises the hopes of punters as the number of states where this form of entertainment is legal is expected to increase.
The rest of the states could be quite vague about whether placing wagers online at offshore gambling sites is illegal. Often, players will suffer minor or no consequences if they engage in virtual gambling at foreign websites. That said, US citizens should always check the laws in their states as some may impose a fine and even imprisonment if you get caught in the act of illegal gambling.
Should US Players Participate in Online Gambling?
The decision is entirely yours and you must be ready to take responsibility if you reside in a state forbidding illegal gambling but you still participate in such activities. That said, many of the states are vague about their gambling rules, and there is no federal law that specifically forbids placing wagers online on websites that are not based in the US.
It is also worth mentioning that currently, there are no US citizens that have have been prosecuted for taking part in online gambling on an offshore website. This is the reason why many players take the chance and play their favorite casino games on websites based outside the US. The good thing is that several states have decriminalized several forms of online gambling, so their residents can enjoy online casino, poker and sports betting legally. What is more, many states are also working towards changing their laws and regulations to legalize online gambling. This will further change the virtual gaming scene in the United States and more players will be at ease when placing wagers online.