U.S. Online Casino Legality

There is quite a bit of confusion when it comes to players located within the United States and their ability to play at an online casino. That is because of the existence of something called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the UIGEA, which has certainly had an effect on the companies that have accepted American players in the past.

In a nutshell, the UIGEA restricts financial institutions in the United States from being able to handle or otherwise participate in transactions that pertain to online gaming. Essentially, it cuts off the pathway of funds from the player to the casino and back.

It should be mentioned, in real-world terms, that many of the online casino operators have managed to set up a processing situation that circumvents the regulations to a certain extent by disguising them as something else. For instance, a credit card transaction that might otherwise carry a "merchant code" indicating that it is online gaming will instead carry a merchant code form another industry entirely. In any other case, using a credit card from the U.S. to do a gaming transaction would be problematic at best.

Naturally, if banks are complying with the government (not all of them do so that readily), a bank transfer to or from a casino is also going to be less possible, although some casinos do a very good job or routing and re-routing funds to create a very nebulous origin. Yes, these are moves designed to skirt the UIGEA, but it is reality.

What you need to understand is that if you have succeeded in setting up an online casino account within the United States, no one is going to come knocking on your door and taking you to jail. The law is designed to penalize the operators of the games, and the financial institutions that get caught participating. Of course, one of the residual effects of that kind of penalty might be that you'd have a difficult time getting your money out an account with an operator who was busted.

The political atmosphere, thankfully, is changing. There have been many pieces of legislation introduced that would cut back on the scope of the UIGEA, and it is perceived that casino gaming, as opposed to sports betting, is not a "hot target" for the government. Nevada is going to be moving into the online gaming business, and other states, including California and New Jersey, are looking in the same direction.