Various legislative efforts on the state and federal level as well as several landmark rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States have left online gaming connoisseurs in a state of relative uncertainty:
- What forms of online gambling are legal?
- What rights and obligations do players have?
- How are online casinos regulated?
Add to that the fast pace of technological innovation in the field, and you have a perfect storm. Our helpful guide will shed light on the issue and empower you to make the most of the opportunities online gambling in the USA can offer.
Is Online Gambling Illegal in the United States?
The shortest answer to the above question is: No, online gambling is not illegal in the US overall. However, there are some important exceptions that merit your consideration. We will consider them in the general overview below.
The good news is that as of 2018, there is no federal statute against online gambling in the United States. This means that online betting USA style is open for business. Thanks to a favorable re-interpretation of the Wire Act by the Department of Justice back in 2011, the practice of gambling online is no longer seen as a federal crime.
Legal Online Betting USA Sites
One area where the Wire Act technically still applies, however, is the betting on sporting events. Although the Act's strength has been reduced greatly by legal precedent and especially by the Supreme Court's ruling in the Murphy vs. NCAA landmark case, online operators still require a specific license in order to offer sport betting on their web platforms.
It is safe to say, therefore, that online gambling is legal in the USA. You can enjoy all the freedoms and benefits the Internet brings to this favorite pastime.
What States Have Legalized Online Gambling?
Given that online gambling is legal in the USA on the federal level, by and large, many states have not taken the initiative to develop their own legislation to govern that activity. Nevertheless, some specific laws and regulations have emerged, often pertaining to particular forms of online games of chance.
Online casino games are regulated with particular legislation in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The latter was the first ever state in the Union to legalize online gambling back in 2012. New Jersey, in turn, saw the broadest legislative effort because the many high-profile casinos based in Atlantic City were quick to apply for online licenses as well, and their activities needed the most regulation. While Pennsylvania is home to only a few online gambling platforms as of yet, its regulatory statutes are also quite exhaustive, offering Internet casino licenses worth millions of dollars.
Online Betting USA Poker States
One of the most popular forms of online gambling is poker, and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada have granted special legislative status to the beloved game. Despite the wild reputation of Las Vegas, online poker is the only form of virtual gambling that is regulated and licensed in the state of Nevada.
When it comes to games of chance, numerous US states have passed regulations on online lotteries. Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, New Hampshire, Michigan and Pennsylvania currently allow online lottery sales. A few of them offer various forms of instantly winnable prizes that feel not too distant from slot machines.
Online Betting USA Daily Fantasy Sports
Finally, the phenomenon of daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting deserves a mention, with New York State's prolonged legal battle against FanDuel serving as the landmark legal precedent. Formerly touted as a game of skill, DFS is now largely accepted as a game of chance and, thus, subject to the same laws, regulations, and licensing fees that apply to other forms of online gambling. Massachusetts and Nevada have developed their own laws to regulate DFS, while California – the largest market for this form of betting in the US – is still pondering specific legislation.
Are Online Sportsbooks Legal in the US?
As mentioned above, the loosening of the Wire Act in 2011 and the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in Murphy vs. NCAA have made online sports betting legal in the United States. The legislation that previously blocked the betting on sporting events – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)- has been dubbed unconstitutional, opening the door for states to introduce their own sport-betting regulations. Until such legislation materializes, however, online sports betting is good to go in the US, with few hurdles, if any, along the way.
With the federal ban lifted, state legislators and gaming commissioner's offices will get hard at work developing comprehensive regulations and state legislation in order to make the most of the new opportunity. Established online casinos and well-reputed betting sites will be the first platforms to add sports to their wide array of virtual gambling opportunities.
When looking for a safe online sportsbook, do your due diligence and make sure you entrust your money and your time to a platform with verifiably good credentials and speciality in the sport for which you burn. Not all web-based sportsbooks in the USA cover all available sports. Many have their own idiosyncrasies regarding payout times, welcome bonuses, forms of payment, and other vital aspects of the game.
Betting Using Bitcoin
Even though online betting in the USA is legal for private individuals' enjoyment, many banks and other credit institutions continue looking down on the practice and habitually block money transfers to online gambling operators. This is where betting using Bitcoin comes to the rescue.
Putting aside its infrequent bouts of market volatility with wide jumps in either direction, Bitcoin remains the leading cryptocurrency and enjoys sufficient levels of popularity and trust to serve you well in your online gambling endeavors. Most, if not all major betting platforms in the United States work with Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency facilitates time-efficient, low-cost, anonymous transfers that get the job done.
The way online betting with Bitcoin works is the following:
The online platform will accept your cryptocurrency deposit and convert it into US dollars according to the prevailing market exchange rate.
This step is necessary because US-based betting sites operate in the local currency. Once you decide to cash out, the platform will perform the operation in reverse, again using the current exchange rates.
The occasional volatility of Bitcoin's exchange rate presents a challenge and an opportunity for the avid gambler.
Timing your cash-in and cash-out may become a form of betting in their own right. The efficiency and relative anonymity of it all make the cryptocurrency a great addition to your online gambling experience.