Legal Online Gambling in the USA

Over most of the United States, online gambling sits in a very precarious place. In the majority of states, online gambling is illegal but the problem arises when trying to prosecute and convict all the individual players who play from home. It’s illegal also to operate an online casino from within the United States, this is the main reason why you find all the major online casino sites offshore and located in clumps in specific countries where the law permits them to operate.

When you start to get into the issue of international jurisdiction that’s when things get even trickier. In America it’s illegal to use any form of electronic payment method to transmit bets to an online gambling site in a country where it’s not permitted. So some online casinos overseas for example would be breaking United States Law (The U.S Wire Wager Act) if an American based player was to play at their casino. Now this is where it gets interesting because the United States doesn’t have the authority to prosecute someone in another country over this and also it never prosecutes players either, so a law exists which is never enforced. This also means any grievances players from the U.S may have with the online casino will go un-challenged if gambling is not legal in their state.

Although there is currently a growing number of American operators providing internet based games, only a few of them are licensed and approved by a North American regulator. The most reputable regulatory bodies include the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Kahnawake Gambling Commission. There are also regulators based in the UK, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and even in the USA through the relevant regulatory authority.

Legal U.S Online Gambling

The three states where forms of online gambling are legal are Nevada (Online Poker), New Jersey (Online Poker, Casino games) and Delaware (Online Poker, Casino games). If you live in one of these 3 states you have no worries when it comes to using online casinos that have been approved by the states regulatory board and operate with an approved license.

The difference between legal and illegal

There are lots of things that go towards making the distinction between a legal online casino and an illegal one. One important factor is the safety of your personal information. If the online casino is not regulated then they do not have to comply with laws that may incur a penalty or other punishment. This means they have very little incentive to protect your private data and in some cases may sell it on to external marketers.

Another factor would be the fairness of the online games themselves. Each online operator is able to setup their games in the manner they like, bonus structures, pay out percentages. All this is regulated to ensure fairness in gaming and tested by independent companies. If the casino is not subject to these laws then they can simply do what they like and you will find that you have no guarantee as to the fairness of your game.

The last main factor would have to be safety of your funds. Again, an online casino that is subject to regulations will have to disclose information about group holdings, where your funds are and you would be able to retrieve them in the event of bankruptcy etc. At an online casino that is not subject to US legislation they are not required to disclose any of this information. The money can then be used for illegal purposes and they are also not obliged to settle wins with you under penalty, you could find your big win is never paid out.

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