Online Casino USA: Gambling Laws
There’s no single law that forbids online gambling nationwide. However, most of the country’s states do have such laws:
- For some, the law specifically targets gambling in USA online casinos.
- For others, the law covers gambling in general and includes both offline and online gambling.
- Some states, such as Illinois, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana and Wisconsin, do have laws that specifically mention gambling in US online casinos being an illegal activity.
As of mid-2019, there are only four states out of 50 that have passed laws making online gambling legal.
Those states are:
- New Jersey
Generally speaking, gambling in online casinos is gradually become legally accepted more and more throughout the country. If an individual state hasn’t already legalized it, there’s a good chance that still will have legalized it in the near future. Even in states that are more favorable towards online gambling, not every single form of gambling online may be fully legalized just yet.
Even if you gamble online in a state where doing so is technically illegal, the chances of you being prosecuted are extremely slim. In fact, there’s no record of anyone in the entire country ever having served jail time for gambling in online casino USA. Even if someone were to be prosecuted for gambling online, any punishment would no doubt be very minor.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 didn’t specifically ban USA online casino gambling. It did, however make it illegal for financial institutions, such as banks, to handle money obtained from illegal gambling, i.e. states where online gambling is classed as illegal. In accordance with this law, there’s nothing illegal about placing real-money bets in online casinos in the USA. Still, the law was enough for a lot of financial service operators based outside of the US to stop allowing US customers to use their services.
Back in 1961, the Federal Wire Act was set up. This bill was created to control organized crime and to prevent gangs from taking over gambling venues and operating them illegally. According to this act, it’s illegal for you to accept bets over the internet. In other words, you can’t set up your own online casino and accepts bets from people wanting to play casino games. The act, however, doesn’t make it illegal for you or anyone else to place bets.
Even in the states where online gambling is legal, only certain USA online casinos are licensed. To access these casinos, you have to be physically within the state’s borders. New Jersey requires all USA online casinos to be partnered with a land-based casino. Resorts Casino, for example, is a New Jersey online casino that’s backed by the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. You can only access and play at this online casino if you and your internet-enabled device are both within the New Jersey state borders.
Online Casinos Available to USA Players
Unfortunately, USA online casino players don’t have access to as many online casinos compared with people in European countries, where online gambling laws are more relaxed. This is simply because online gambling isn’t technically available in many states just yet. As mentioned above, there are some that are only accessible in certain states.
The vast majority of online casinos that accept USA players are based outside of the country. Placing real-money bets at online casinos accepting USA players based in other countries isn’t generally considered to be illegal.
If you live in the USA, you should be able to gamble as much as you like at offshore online casinos accepting US players without any chance of being prosecuted or punished in any way.
Even though USA online casino players have a more limited number of online casinos they can access, they can still enjoy plenty of top-quality online gambling experiences. The reason not all casinos are available in the country is that some operators simply don’t want to offer their services to American players. They’re reluctant to do this because online gambling isn’t exactly legal in all states, plus there’s the fear that operators could be penalized for carrying out financial transactions with players’ money.
One of the mottos the Casino Gorilla swears by is to work with what you’ve got. In the case of USA online casinos, it’s a matter of looking at what online casino USA you can access and making the most of them.
In other words, don’t think about the casinos you can’t access wherever you are in the USA and focus on making the most of the ones you can access.
The Casino Gorilla wants you to have the best online casino experience possible. If you’re looking to play at online casinos in the USA, you might not have the biggest number of casinos to choose from, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a casino for you. First and foremost, you should only ever sign up to a casino that’s licensed. There are dozens of organizations around the world that hand out gambling licenses, though only to operators they’ve approved of. Some of the main regulatory authorities include:
- the UK Gambling Commission
- the Malta Gaming Authority
- the Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- the Government of Curacao
Whenever you visit an online casino USA, always check there’s a license. You can find this by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. If you don’t find a license anywhere, you shouldn’t sign up, just to be on the safe side. Stick with the Casino Gorilla, as he only ever recommends casinos that have a license.
There are a number of other criteria you may want to consider when deciding on an USA online casino to play at. These are listed below:
Game Selection at Online Casino USA
USA online casino players still have access to many of the biggest, newest and most popular online casino games around. Whatever your own tastes are, there’s bound to be a casino that caters for your needs, whether you’re a slots enthusiast, a table games lover or you’re into a different type of casino game.
Most online casinos accepting US players these days have several hundred games; some of them even have more than a thousand. Games are usually supplied by a number of different providers. Many continue to offer their games to USA online casino players, you’ll be glad to hear. At most online casinos, you’ll have the chance to play for free. With demo play, you can play your favourite games as much as you want without having to spend a single penny. You can’t win or lose any actual money, but you can brush up your skills and get to learn how the game works.
Promotions and Bonuses in US Online Casinos
Online casinos are businesses and to stay in business, they need to keep bringing in revenue. They do this by encouraging new players to sign up and by encouraging those who have already signed up to keep coming back. Bonuses are the main way in which casinos compete with one another. The general idea is that the more generous a bonus is, the more players it will attract.
All online casinos have a welcome offer just for new players that rewards you with bonus money, free spins or both (or something else altogether) just for signing up. The number and range of other promotional offers varies greatly from casino to casino. Most will have a few limited-time offers, along with a loyalty scheme that offers better rewards the more you play, and a VIP club, which is reserved for only the most loyal of players. Should you become a member of a VIP club, you’ll get to enjoy all sorts of exclusive bonuses, offers and perks.
Payment Methods in Online Casinos Accepting USA Players
Due to some financial service providers pulling out of the USA, the typical USA online casino doesn’t accept as many payment methods as the typical European one. The choice of payment methods may be more limited, but you should still be able to find an online casino that accepts your preferred payment method easily enough. Pretty much every online casino that’s available to USA players will accept the US dollar. Some will let you use other major world currencies, such as the euro and the British pound sterling, as well.
US Online Casino Customer Support
Hopefully, you’ll never have to get in touch with a casino’s customer support team. It’s still good to know that there’s customer support available in case anything goes wrong or you simply have a question about something. Ideally, customer support should be available 24/7, so no matter when you need to get in touch, you can. While a lot of USA online casinos have round-the-clock customer support, at some it’s unavailable for a few hours of the day, typically in the early morning.
Contact methods available include:
- live chat
- a phone line
- an email address or an email form
- some casinos also have links to their social media pages posted
The line-up of contact methods and the availability hours can vary quite a lot. Many US casinos have a detailed FAQ section with answers to dozens of frequently asked questions provided. Before contacting customer support, you may want to check out the FAQ section as the information you’re looking for might well be there.
USA Online Casino Mobile Compatibility
Pretty much every online casino USA has a mobile friendly version that can be accessed on smartphones and tablets. No matter what USA online casino you end up deciding to sign up to, you should find there’s a mobile casino you can play at.
Thanks to mobile casinos, you can play all your favourite games while you’re out of the house, provided that the device you’re using is constantly connected to the internet. The only downside to the mobile casinos is that they usually don’t offer the full selection of games you’ll find on the desktop casino. This is because not all games have had mobile friendly versions created just yet. Some providers have mobile friendly versions of all their games, while others have only adapted some of their games for handheld devices.
Gambling in the USA
While the online gambling laws can be quite complicated, when it comes to real-world gambling, the laws are much simpler. Gambling in land-based casinos is widely practiced throughout the country.
Without a doubt the country’s gambling capital is the city of Las Vegas. Located in the Mojave Desert in the state of Nevada, Vegas is known worldwide for its rich gambling history and impressive collection of tourist attractions. Then there’s the casino resorts. The Las Vegas Strip is lined with many elaborately themed casino resorts, many of which are among the largest resorts in the world, accommodating thousands of people at a time.
Gambling is huge in the USA. According to the American Gaming Association, the country’s gambling industry is worth around $240 billion. There are some 1.7 million people employed in gambling-related fields across 40 of the country’s states. In 2017, legal gambling activities generated $158 billion in revenue, roughly half of which came from lotteries. Land-based casinos are also big contributors, generating around $41 billion in revenue. The country’s 450 land-based casinos are spread across 23 different states (where such casinos are fully legal).
There’s no denying that offline gambling is hugely popular in the USA. Even though not all forms of offline gambling are legal in every state, it’s still widely practiced and generates a significant amount of revenue. Online gambling is much more restricted, though, thanks in part to people’s concerns that it can lead to financial problems, gambling addiction and other such problems. Hopefully, the laws will become a lot more relaxed in the near future so that USA players looking to gamble online in USA online casinos sensibly can do so freely.