Is online gambling illegal in United States?
United States are a country with a specific organization and structure, and this pattern is also applied to the field of law and legislation, so it is slightly hard to give a simple and precise answer to question in the tittle. During the years, things have changed in this country, as well as in any other, and government had to adjust its policy towards organized entertainment of this type and to find suitable legal solutions to restrict and control this phenomenon. This article will take a look at the historical circumstances that shaped the laws and legal documents in the past and how is the situation looking at the present day.
Gambling was present in the America from the time of the first settlers or even before them with Native American tribes, and it only grew bigger with each passing year and attracted more players. Legalization of land-based casinos in Nevada made a giant step forward, making Las Vegas the capital of casinos. This went on without any bigger problems until computers and technology started offering something different, something even more attractive and entertaining. The first machines were predominantly slots, but in the middle of the last century there were some other forms of gambling as well. In 1961, the federal government brought a famous Interstate Wire Act, and this document still has legal power although it was changed slightly in 2011 to “accept” casino/poker trading. In the original form it banned all types of gambling conducted by wire technology, which is in later years often used as a point of dispute and misinterpretation. Also, this law was known for its anti-mob nature, since it was mainly created to stop the mafia from illegally transferring the money.
After this one, came another attempt to regulate this area and in 1992 the popular PASPA law was passed by Congress. The Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act was also known as “the Bradley Act”, since it was introduced by former basketball player Bill Bradley. However, this law was largely focused on sports betting and therefore had little or no effect on the virtual casinos that were beginning to appear somewhere at that time.
As more and more casinos appeared, the federal government was forced to act once again, and in 2006 they passed a law which is largely known for its abbreviation UIGEA, meaning Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This notorious document is based on the concept that banks and credit cards cannot be used in connection with online gambling websites, which meant that players couldn’t have their money back or even invested in the game in the first place. Many online casinos saw this as a clear message, and banned US citizens from their websites, even though people from this territory were not breaking the law by visiting the sites or even playing. The law is targeting banks and there were only one or two cases where individuals were being prosecuted. In later years, this attitude is slowly changing, and states like Nevada or Delaware introduced their own laws which make online gambling completely legal. There is no doubt that the federal government will soon see the benefits of this decision and that they also will change they approach to this topic.