In the last few years, the online casino business has taken the world by storm, with new online platforms cropping up at the bat of an eye, and more infrastructure being set in place. However, in this respect, the US is still somewhat of an anomaly. Many gambling enthusiasts might hesitate to indulge in online gambling not knowing whether such activities are in their respective jurisdiction, or for that matter, anywhere within the USA.
There is one record, however, that we ought to set straight – Federal Law DOES NOT prohibit gambling as done by the individual gambler him/herself. This myth is probably the result of a short-sighted understanding of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). More precisely, there is a statement about wire transfer that states that persons or entities are not allowed to accept money transfer from a person participating in illegal online gambling. The word to pay attention to is “accept”, which implies that you are free to send money, but individuals/entities on the other side may not accept it.
The UIGEA is simply an extra, and somewhat unnecessary, piece of legislation that was tagged onto the SAFE Port Act. The SAFE Port Act was approved both by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Offshore Gambling and Middle Men
This is where Payment Processing companies step in. They provide customers with money transfer services and act as go-betweens for them and gambling sites. Due to the UIGEA law, both gambling sites and payment service providers tend to set up shop offshore. This way, payment processing companies also offer an extra step of security for players vis-à-vis players disclosing their credit card information directly to the online gambling site.
Therefore, the legal clause concerning wire transfer in the UIGEA should not be misinterpreted as saying that transferring funds to an online casino outside of the USA – directly or through a payment service provider. This is simply not true. Simply stated, players cannot be penalised for simply playing online casinos located abroad and transferring money to them.
Different States; Different Approaches
That being said, it’s good to be aware that different states have taken different levels of legal measure against online gambling. Some states have already completely legalised it, while it seems that others have things in the works to do so. This is, perhaps, due to the fact that online gambling is a rather new industry in the States. At this time, the only states that have endorsed online gambling in its entirety are Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. Word has it that other states including California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and Massachusetts are trying to get on board the online casino wagon as new bills are being passed.
There is little doubt that the USA is potentially offers some of the most fertile soil for the online gambling industry to grow. However, this will not be easy, what with several legal roadblocks and red tape. We will see, however, if the new president elect – Donald Trump – will have any bearing on the situation.