There may be some confusion on the part of gambling enthusiasts in the United States as to whether they can legally play online. They have heard from some sources that it is a prohibited activity, but while that may be the perspective of some people, it is not really the case.
The purpose of this site is to help clarify some things with regard to the legal issues surrounding online gambling and how they converge or conflict with the political issues. Also, there is some enlightenment offered as to the logistical dilemma customers may be facing when it comes to making deposits and opening accounts.
Things along these lines are loosening, though not necessarily for the companies that are now in the business. The state-by-state efforts that are indeed underway to enact some licensing of internet gaming include strict regulations that could preclude some of the existing brands from being licensed, or may exclude them by design, instead granting a permit only to those who already hold a gaming license in that particular state.
Take New Jersey, for example. Governor Chris Christie is already planning on having sports betting in the state, with locations at the pari-mutuel facilities and Atlantic City casinos. But he also would like to sign a bill to allow for online gambling. But he will only sign the bill if one of the provisions is to restrict the licenses to entities that already have a gaming license, so as to keep such gambling dollars within the state.
In anticipation of such a thing, PokerStars, one of the leading online poker companies, which survived the infamous "Black Friday" attack, settled with the U.S. Department of Justice and subsequently bought out the assets of Full Tilt Poker, is making a bid to buy the Atlantis Club Casino (formerly the Atlantic City Hilton), which would give it the entree for gaming activity in the Garden State.
From a legal standpoint, there is not a big downside to playing at an internet casino, with the exception of the possibility of having an account frozen by the government at a site, or at an alternative banking site that might itself have a legal problem. In any event, though customers may, and indeed have, lost their money in situations like that, they are not going to be arrested for their activity.
The overriding problem that exists is access. As far as the gaming sites are concerned, it is access to certain methods of doing financial transactions, in which the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act can get in the way, because it precludes financial institutions from being involved in gaming-related transactions, and thus has a wide reach.
United States customers will have a difficult time using a credit card, though it is not impossible. Some casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites have found ways to circumvent the UIGEA to the extent that it can facilitate a deposit. Gift cards are being used more and more, and there are ways to disguise both merchant transactions and bank wires so that they are not so obviously identified as something that is related to online gambling.
There is really no reason for players not to be involved with enjoying the entertainment value of online gambling if they are so motivated. Where there's a will, there's a way. There will always be an avenue by which a vendor can service a customer, and that applies to U.S.-based players as well. The best advice for players, if they reside in the United States, is to be careful and comfortable with the payment method that is used, understanding that there are risks involved because of the reality that there are different interpretations of what is legal and what isn't. If you're a newcomer, we will help guide you, and also offer an introduction to online gambling in general and some of the more popular casino games.
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