Is Online Gambling Legal In The USA?
When we decided to start looking for the legal age requirements for gambling, we had also decided to look for the laws related to online gambling on a whole. We have found that there are a lot of ins and outs to online gambling and how each law pertains to the players. While we cannot sit here and tell you that you should definitely be gambling online, we are going to present to you the facts and what the laws mean to you.
The first law that scared American gamblers came in 2006, attached to the unrelated SAFE Port Act, and it really affected the perception of legal online gambling for U.S. players. This law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), made it so that US-based payment processors accepting payments from American gamblers (or transferring payouts to American gamblers) are liable for breaking the law. The UIGEA effectively scared away scores of players, making large numbers of enthusiasts hesitant to gamble online due to the overwhelming fear about the legality of the industry. The UIGEA has since been challenged, debated, and ultimately determined to be non-threatening to individual gamblers and bettors. In other words, despite the UIGEA’s language, individual players are not liable for breaking any laws pertaining to online gambling.
There is one more law that encompasses online gambling on a federal level, and this is the Wire Act of 1961. This law made it so interstate sports betting is illegal, all because organized crime was taking advantage as sports betting as a source of income. Thank your friendly neighborhood mobster for making the Wire Act a law! Since the Wire Act’s inception, it has been determined that the law also pertains to online sports gambling, as the Internet is a form of telecommunications. The Wire Act does not cover online casinos or poker rooms, nor does it have anything to do with the player himself or herself. Once again, this federal law only pertains to those in the business of gambling.
Every state is also entitled to make laws that ban online gambling, though very few states have actually done so. Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin are the only states in the Union that have passed any laws making online gambling illegal. We cannot say to what ultimate degree online gambling is illegal in these states, but there are laws related to online gambling in their statutes. If you are really not sure whether or not the type of Internet-based gambling you wish to indulge in is legal or not, we can only recommend that you talk to a lawyer to make sure what you are doing is on the up and up. As of 2019, we have never heard of anyone being arrested in any state solely because they gambled or wagered on sports online.
Since you probably only have to worry about the federal laws pertaining to online gambling, you are probably not violating any laws to play online. With all of the possibilities stemming from online gambling, the federal government is likely to wisen up and actually pass some laws allowing online gamblers to participate in the games. Now that PASPA is a thing of the past, online gambling is of less import to the US government than it’s ever been, and attitudes about the acceptability of gambling in general are becoming more liberal throughout America. If you are going to play online in one of the states in which you are worried about the laws, we can tell you that you realistically have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, we are not legal professionals and we are not here to give you legal advice. What you do with this information is totally up to you.
Sports Betting Finally Coming To States As PASPA Overturned By Supreme Court
For many years (25, to be exact), the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, aka PASPA, has been the law of the land, and it has effectively prevented any state other than Nevada from offering comprehensive sports betting options to its many residents. However, sports betting is finally coming to the states as PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court by a vote of 6-3 on May 14, 2018.
That said, it will be some time before every individual state formally decides to offer or ban sports betting within their borders. To date, about one-fifth of the United States offers legal sports betting. That number is expected to increase to roughly four-fifths by 2023 or so. However, it may still take a while before you’ll see sports wagering venues pop up in your neck of the woods. So until then (and perhaps even after), your best bet is to continue to use the offshore sportsbooks you’re already used to, as sites like Bovada, BetOnline, SportsBetting, and other top books remain completely safe and 100% legal to use for all US residents.
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