USA Gambling Legislation

USA Legislations
Legal aspect of online gambling is the only hurdle American gambler stumbles upon when deciding to gamble online. This article aims at shedding light on the regulation of online gambling in United States.

Though it is technically illegal in most parts of the U. S, its residents can play all the casino and poker games as the respective bill only targets fund transfer mechanisms and companies that carry out financial transactions prohibiting them to carry out online gaming transactions.

US Gambling Laws and Regulations

Online gambling is regulated by three federal laws:

The Federal Wire Act. In fact, the Act is quite ambiguous. The Act states that "the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." First, this means that this Act can be applied exclusively to sports betting and not any other form of online gambling. Second, the "wire communication facility" can only be used concerning transmissions that use wires and the proliferation of wireless Internet access is not controlled by the Act.

Concerned with the problem of online gambling, US Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that was signed by George Bush on Oct.13 2006 thus marking the beginning of the end of US online gambling industry. Although the measure did nothing to change the players' right to bet online, it eventually forced American banks and other financial institutions to block some types of electronic transactions to Internet gambling businesses making it impossible for the USA gamblers to deposit and withdraw money in online casino. In response, most online casinos banned US players from playing at their casinos although USA was the most prolific provider of online casino players in the world. Read more

The Act itself leaves room for interpretation. The UIGEA outlaws the transfer of money to an online gambling site by financial institutions but online gambling itself is NOT prohibited. Under the Act, to be legal the wager has to be permitted both by the customer's place of residence and the operator. The wager falls under definition of staking anything value conditioned on the outcome of a game of chance, a sporting event, or any other form of contest where the outcome is uncertain. Stock trading, online video games and most fantasy sport are beyond the scope of the Act. The law is applied to the games of pure chance like online slot-machines, any kind of wager on the outcome of sporting or election events and the games of skill like online poker.

As operators don't have right to carry out an US based business many online casinos are located outside the US and work under a license given out by Antigua, Gibralta, Kahnawake or Malta. Some operators closed US player accounts and stopped to accept US players and others continued to accept US players offering them a number of payment options available to US gamblers like UseMyBank.

Payment methods that are available for US gamblers are: Visa, MasterCard, Western Union, Wire Transfer, MoneyGram, Amex, eWalletXpress, eCheck, Solid Debit, NetPay, Diners Club. We strongly recommend to each player to check if the option is valid before trying to make a transfer.

Payment methods that are NOT available for US gamblers: PayPal, ePassporte, FirePay, Instadebit, Neteller, MoneyBookers, EcoCard, UseMyBank, Central Coin, PaySpark, Gift Cards, Quick Tender, Citadel and myCitadel, Instacash, ATMOnline, Nexum, Click2Pay, PayPal.

When European online gaming operators left the American market, American economy suffered heavy losses. US used to reap billions in tax revenues from the online gambling industry. The studies carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers show that US can collect at least $8.7 billion and up to $17.6 billion in as little as 10 years.  These numbers can make some lawmaker change their mind concerning online gambling, especially taking into account the recession US economy undergoes now.

Another problem arises from the fact that each of the 50 states may have different legislation on Internet gambling. US gamblers are recommended to keep a constant watch on amendments, repeals, and new legislation on UIGEA under state law. To check the law aspects in your state see

On May 6, 2009, Senator Barney Frank challenged the UIGEA with an Act designed to overturn it - what many see as a welcome first step towards regulation, although this could take years. The Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act will establish federal regulatory as well as enforcement framework for online and land-based gaming. Read more

The Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act would establish the framework under which US-based companies online gaming operators could get licenses to be able to accept bets from US residents legally.

Gambling operators would be subject to reviews of how the entire operation is run. Department of Treasury will have the right to review anything from financial history, to employee background checks. Under the Act, the operators are supposed to have appropriate safeguards in place to avoid underage gambling, protect the privacy and security of the players, combat compulsive gambling and fraud.

The Department of Treasury will also be responsible for enforcing licensing, imposing fines, and or imprisonment or license revocation for those whom violate the provisions of this bill.

The Act also would automatically create an exception for poker to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

In order to gamble, deposit and withdraw money successfully and with minimum hassle at online casinos you need to follow the instructions given by the gambling site you have chosen. Each reputable online casino has 24/7 customer support so this will not be a problem.

Anomalies in the American's gambling law:

1. Californian casinos are prohibited by law from playing blackjack. Therefore they have added a twist to the game and the game is played to 22 rather than 21.

2. The UIGEA has provisions for betting on horse racing. During the bill's inception in 2006, horse racing was granted an exemption under the UIGEA in order to protect that industry.


CasinosDoc is not a legal authority. We remind you the information presented should not be treated as a legal advice but we sincerely hope that it will be of use to you. To get accurate information or advice on online gambling, consult the laws of the country where you reside or jurisdiction in which you are playing. © 2022 All Rights Reserved