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Gambling in the USA

Gambling in the USA

If you are involved in any capacity in the online gambling world you will be aware of the fiasco that is the laws surrounding online gambling in the US. The main issue here is a bill that was passed in 2006 called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Many believe that this act made online gambling in the US illegal but this in fact is completely false and I will explain why.

What this act did is to “prohibit gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law”. Now I know that this is a mouthful but what it means in simple terms is online casinos and sports books cannot accept deposits or withdrawals from players. Having said this though, the actual act of gambling is still legal.

A way to get around the specificity of the law is to simple remove the chance of the site “knowingly” accepting payment from US residents. The easiest way to do this is to simply allow deposits using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as they are by their very nature, anonymous. This then opens the door for companies to accept transactions from players in the US.

To further complicate the issue the US courts and the DoJ used to consider any form of online gambling a violation of the 1961 Wire act but in 2011 they reinterpreted the Wire act and decided that only wagers on sports events were prohibited by the wire act but online casino and poker games where not. This puts the specific legality of these games into the hands of state law instead and allows any state to make online gambling legal or not within their own state and also allows them to team up with other states.

For example Nevada and Delaware have teamed up and are allowed to share player pools for online gambling activity and New Jersey has also legalised online gambling. Utah and Hawaii have made all forms of online gambling completely illegal while all the other states remain on the fence and continue the grey area that is online gambling in the US.

The bottom line is that for anyone in any state apart from Utah and Hawaii you are not breaking any laws by gambling online unless you are betting on sports. The majority of the online gambling laws only prohibit sports betting. What is illegal is for the casino itself to accept a bet from you but if you gamble with a non US casino or poker room, they are not breaking any US law by letting you play and you are not breaking any law laid out in the UIGEA or the Wire act.

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