So a casino set up in the Netherlands is breaking U. Since players are almost never prosecuted either, we're left with an illegal act that generally goes unpunished. Of course, if an off-shore casino decides to cheat a player out of winnings, and online gambling is illegal in that player's locality, the player will have a difficult time suing the casino.
This brings us to the topic of regulation. Some of the countries that allow online casinos to operate have strict guidelines and regulations that make sure the casinos operate legitimately.
They make sure the casino pays out when players win, and they ensure that published odds match the actual odds programmed into each game. Australian and Finnish online casinos are known for adhering to national standards. Some countries are not so strict about regulation and may be more interested in taxing the casinos than making sure that they play fair.
There are many online casinos to choose from, and it pays to do some research into the regulations they must follow when you select one. In the case of the United States v. Jay Cohen, the U. Cohen took great care to consult with lawyers and accountants ahead of time to make sure that his operation was legal.
However, he was prosecuted and successfully convicted on a technicality of the Wire Wager Act. This case is interesting because of the dissenting opinion of Justice James Oliver, who pointed out the inadequacies of current laws that deal with the Internet, the futility of trying to ban online gambling, and the mercurial tides of public and political opinion regarding gambling in general [ ref ].
The case of Thompson v. The casino operated legally in California because players earned game tokens called "Funbucks," which could be redeemed for prizes. As stated in final report of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission , gambling is an ever-changing subject:.
Instead, it is composed of relatively discrete segments: Each form of gambling can, in turn, be divided or aggregated into a variety of other groupings. For example, lotteries capture enormous revenues for state governments, ostensibly benefiting the general public in the form of enhanced services, such as education. But critics charge that the states knowingly target their poorest citizens, employing aggressive and misleading advertising to induce these individuals to gamble away their limited means.
Casinos spark different discussions. In Atlantic City, the casinos have transformed the Boardwalk and provide employment for thousands of workers.
But opponents point to the unredeemed blight only blocks away, made worse by elevated levels of crime that some attribute to the presence of gambling. And so-called convenience gambling may help marginal businesses survive, but at the cost of bringing a poorly regulated form of gambling into the hearts of communities. The Internet brings its own assortment of imponderable issues. The fortunes of each segment also differ greatly.
As a group, the destination casinos have done well. Las Vegas, like America, constantly reinvents itself, with an endless line of new projects. Indian gambling has expanded rapidly, but with enormous disparities in results. Parimutuel racetracks have kept their heads above water in the face of increasing competition for gambling dollars, but often only at the price of mutating into quasi-casinos. Lottery revenues have plateaued, prompting some to expand their inventory to include ever-more controversial sources of income, such as video keno.
This is the reason that makes it very hard to pin-point whether gambling should be legal, illegal and how much regulation should be put in place. Trying to understand the legalities surrounding online casinos can be down right confusing for most players. Unless you have a Harvard law degree, reading and interpreting the laws related to online gambling is easier said than done.
But we've got you covered! Our guide to playing online casinos legally will cover various aspects related to legal US online casinos and the laws that pertain to USA players. We break down everything so players will have a full understanding of the legal status of internet casino gambling in the United States, which federal laws impact your access to industry resources, and how to access US friendly online gambling destinations that are legally regulated and licensed to provide their services to USA players.
This guide was created and developed by experienced gamblers who are highly regarded as trusted Internet gambling consultants and analysts with a firm grasp on the industry and how to navigate through it while remaining completely compliant with US gambling laws. Once you feel comfortable with the legality of online casino gambling, you can check out our online casino reviews section for insight into each of the brands we recommend.
This section of our guide addresses the most commonly asked questions concerning legal online casino gambling in the U.
We attempted to answer them all with thoughtful, in-depth answers so as to leave no room for misunderstanding the concepts associated with the online gambling industry and your options as a USA player. Online casino gambling made its debut in the early 's, and the industry has been booming ever since. The current legal online gambling climate differs from country to country. In the United States, it can even differ from state to state while countries outside of the US, legal online casino gambling is prevalent and welcomed.
But in the United States, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are the only three states which have adopted friendly and legal state based online gambling legislation for their residents and visitors. Several states are in the process of moving forward on this for their own states, with California expected to be the next state to step up to the plate.
There are still restrictions which come into play, but United States citizens without state-sponsored US Internet casinos can still legally enjoy the web's version of the physical Las Vegas experience by playing at legitimate and legally licensed offshore casinos. When an Internet casino is headquartered and operated outside of US boundaries, that makes for a legal experience for US players. Online casino betting legality is, however, a frequently changing picture as we've seen through the state licensed online gambling industries emerging.
The FAQ section below will address a host of elements concerning the online casino gambling industry as it pertains to USA players to ensure that American residents have all the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their involvement in real money casino gambling on the Internet.
There is a lot of misinformation spread across the web regarding whether or not online casinos are legal in the United States. We are here to address those questions and concerns so players have a full legal understanding of what they can and can't do.
In a nutshell, there is nothing at all illegal about playing at an online casino if you live in the US. The current laws make it illegal to own and operate an online casino within US borders which is why As mentioned above, there are three US states as of this writing, NJ, NV and DE, that have launched a state licensed and regulated online casino gambling platform for their residents.
Players who are located within those states have access to state sanctioned online gambling. Anybody located outside of those three regions must either rely on land based gambling destinations, or consider visiting legally licensed and regulated offshore casino websites.
In fact, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is not directed at players at all but rather targets online casino operators and payment processors, administering regulatory oversight regarding how online gambling transactions can be processed. There are no federal laws which make it illegal for U. Therefor you are not violating any US laws by enjoying real money casino gambling on the Web as long as you are restricting your game play to legally sanctioned websites.
This is one instance where state law takes the driver's spot. Most American friendly online casinos accept players as young as 18 years old. However, most states mandate that players meet a minimum age requirement of 21 years old before they can legally engage in gambling entertainment.
The laws in your state will dictate the legal age at which you may access legal online casino destinations. Anyone participating in underage gambling is subject to criminal prosecution by sate or local law enforcement. The legal gambling age in the United States varies by state. As long as you restrict your involvement to only those casino websites that have been verified to be legally licensed and regulated by a legitimate governing jurisdiction, then yes, enjoying online casino games online is perfectly safe.
If you waiver on legitimacy even slightly, you risk landing at a dangerous, questionable or low quality casino destination. Each of the casinos you see recommended in this guide have been vetted by our team of professional analysts to ensure they hold legitimate licensing and are subject to genuine regulatory oversight from a respected governing authority.
We also closely examine their security protocols and technology to ensure that any brand included in our guide is able to adequately protect your sensitive data. In order to be considered for inclusion here, each casino must employ a security profile that exceeds licensing requirements and industry standards to provide protection that is comparable to world-class financial institutions. The online casinos recommended in this guide all provide a substantial selection of casino games in their menu.
Flash technology, cutting-edge 3-D graphics, video and animation mean very realistic Vegas style versions of popular casino games like slots, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, video poker, Let It Ride, Keno, and craps. You will find that some of these casinos also offer additional platforms, such as sports betting and poker.
Most reputable online casinos offer an option of Flash, instant play casino games or a downloadable suite of casino games. In most cases the downloadable option provides an expanded selection of games and features, however I personally use the instant play casino games option more often than not, and I've never been disappointed with the performance or selection.
Most US friendly internet casinos support credit card deposits and check or money transfer withdrawal options. You will also occasionally see additional US friendly deposit and withdrawal options such as secure payment vouchers, prepaid cards, and bitcoin. The selection of funding methods varies from brand to brand. You can login into a casinos cashier for more information, or speak to customer support for assistance. Here are our number one requirements that determine if a brand is worthy of further scrutiny for possible inclusion in our guide.
Our process is of course much more in depth, but these elements will immediately rule out the questionable brands:. Legality — does the casino hold legal licensing and are they regulated by a legitimate governing authority? This is the first thing we look at.