Is Online Gambling Legal?

The first question that pops up in many people’s minds when thinking about online casinos is whether or not online gambling legal. As the laws are constantly changing many times you may wonder whether or not gambling is legal in your residency or not. Actually, the answer is simple. There is no defined answer that clearly states, "yes" or "no". Where you reside determines whether gambling is legal for you since not every country, state or specific jurisdiction has the same laws concerning online gambling. We recommend that you research the laws of online gambling permitted with your location. To be a safe and smart gambler, we suggest that you seek advice from a legal authority to know whether gambling is allowed in your region.

Historical Background

If you know about the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, then you will understand that online gambling has been an issue for several decades. When this bill was passed in the United States, it was to making sports bets placed over telephone illegal. Years later, the United State Justice Department took it a step further and added online gambling to that bill as well. While this was proposed to put an end to advertisers and outside authorities taking advantage of players, it has not been formally stated what the intentions are with this revised bill. Therefore, online gambling is not clearly defined as illegal according to the Wire Act of 1961.

Prosecution for Gambling

If you are wondering whether the government has the authority to prosecute you for gambling then you should know that they cannot. Currently, no federal law exists within the United States that says playing at online casinos and making bets at online casinos is illegal. Only the state government can prosecute a player and it is very slim chances that this will ever happen. According to our research, there was one time in history that someone was arrested and charged for gambling online. This man, Jeffrey Trauman was from North Dakota. Trauman placed a bet of more than $100,000 in a sports bet. He then was charged and had to pay a fine in the amount of $500 to the state government. It is important that you understand that the Federal laws are not directed to the player who makes a wager over the internet but rather the financial institution (e.g., banks, credit card companies) where the transaction is made between the casino operator and any United States financial institutions.

Illegal States to Gamble

After reviewing each states policy, we found that the following states do not permit online gambling: Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

It is also important to know that as we stated earlier, currently, federal law does not allow online gambling either.

Various Gambling Legislation

Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

In 2006, the UIGEA law was passed within America that did not allow any funds from the United States such as credit cards or financial institutions to go into an online casino account. However, what the lawmakers did not include are some forms of gambling such as online lotteries, fantasy sports league betting, and others.

It is no surprise that this law left many questions unanswered since the UIGEA was not very clear. Some casinos shut their doors to USA players and some remained open because of this uncertainty. And while many casinos shut their doors to some of their biggest high rollers, others opened up and welcomed those high rollers in.

Gambling Legalization Outside USA

Is Gambling Legal in Europe?

Since just about all of the traditional table games that are featured in casinos were created in Europe, it comes as no surprise that Europe holds a relatively long history in providing a warm casino environment.

In fact, EU established a Free Trade deal that provides offline gambling and online gambling to residents and tourists. This market has boomed substantially bringing a lot of money into the European economy. With the EU authorizing the gambling regulation, it creates a fair industry within Europe so that no institution creates a monopoly over another.

Nevertheless, we found that at least 10 EU members did ban online casinos to their residents and do not allow offline casino gambling either. And then there are some that do not allow online gambling because it hurts the offline gambling industry. Since a lot of offline gambling is controlled by the government (i.e., lotto) or at least is taxed by the government (offline casinos) they would rather keep players playing offline as opposed to online. As a result, residents feel that the control of the EU brings a power that is not democratic and violates their individual rights.

As one example, since January 2008, Germany made online gambling illegal, but has allowed lotteries run by the country. Some residents in one location of Germany claim that the interpretation of the law means that the lottery issued by the country cannot be run over the internet. Interestingly, France has followed suite with Germany’s path.

While these new laws were passed within the EU, it is being looked at with some criticism from the other side since what ended up happening was that the European Commission violated the EU Constitution. With that being said, France has since introduced their market to outside casino operators who are licensed and regulated by a respectable organization.

Gambling in Australia, Canada and the UK

Australia: Online gambling is not illegal in this territory. In fact, players generally are not disallowed from any gambling done online. It is very much permitted for casino operators to provide legitimate gambling services to residents in Australia. Since Australia is a legal location for online gamblers, many online casino operators go the extra mile to provide exceptional service to welcome Australian residents. According to our research, there were no reports of prosecutions of Australian players being fined or held accountable for illegal gambling activity.

UK: If you reside in the UK then you have nothing to be concerned with since online gambling is allowed in the UK. Since the UK Gambling Act of 2005 was established, it brought about specific guidelines for protecting online gamblers from the UK so that they received top-notch service, security and fair gaming. Any casino that a player joins must be a licensed and regulated online casino. The British government legally recognizes various jurisdictions as well. Nevertheless, the responsibility lies with the casino provider and not the player.

Canada: As we researched the laws in Canada, we found that online gambling is not allowed in this jurisdiction. A person cannot create a casino run out of Canada. What is very ironic; however, is that one of the world leading casino software providers- Cryptologic, which is run out of Canada. Since Canada is made up of provinces, each province decides whether online gambling is allowed for its citizens. Canadian players are allowed to gamble at sites that aren't located in Canada (most online casinos).

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