Online Casino USA Guide for American Gamblers
When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) became a reality in 2006, it changed the online casino USA industry. Fortunately for American casino fans, there are still various online casinos to choose from if you’re living in the United States. Here at CasinoTop10, you'll find an extensive list of casinos which accept transactions from American-based players and that have been tested and approved by our staff.
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If you are wondering how to know whether an online casino USA is reputable and safe, in the toplist above, we rank and review US online casino sites. Once we make sure casinos can deliver on all the different criteria they earn a place in our toplist.
Before 2006 there were no legal limits for online gambling; however in 2006 the then president George Bush enacted the SAFE Port Act which also incorporated restrictions for online gambling in the United States. The gambling law, Title VII of the SAFE Port Act is known as the ‘Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006’ – more commonly referred to as UIGEA.
The UIGEA's law which,'...prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law', clearly restricts online gambling in the US and is now strictly regulated and varies from state to state. However as it currently stands it is not illegal for players to play casino games online due to the massive loopholes which are present in UIGEA. The law is indicative of the fact that it is the processing and acceptance of player’s payments to online casinos by banks and financial institutions that is illegal and not internet gambling itself.
In today's world there are a number of legitimate casino sites which allow US players to enjoy their time by gambling online. If you happen to come across one that you like and accepts you to register with them, this means that it has the ability to receive deposits and process withdrawals by using certain alternate payment methods. Keep in mind that if you choose to sign-up through one of these sites, it is entirely the responsibility of the online casino or financial institution to adhere to any laws and not you as a player.
Online casinos are legal in the states of Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. You need to be within these states in order to access online and mobile gambling opportunities. Nonetheless, CasinoTop10 recommends that you check the laws which govern where you live in order to determine whether to sign-up to a site or not, as those states which do allow online gambling are usually heavily regulated. The States of Nevada and New Jersey for example had declared that non-state regulated gambling is illegal, but online gambling per se is not.
The licensed casino operators will also take many measures to check the physical location of all those who wish to play online and on mobile. If you have changed your IP address for privacy reasons or to access news sites abroad this will affect your ability to play at online casinos within these states. Even if you are close to the limits of a bordering state your location may indicate that you are no longer in the legal casino playing area and you won’t be allowed to play.
There are different restrictions associated with playing casino games online – we have outlined the different kind of restrictions for the different entities within the online gambling industry and for different actions taken so you can be absolutely sure of the legalities and illegalities within the industry.
Gambling Restrictions for Players: Player’s cannot be prosecuted for playing at online casinos as it doesn’t break any federal laws. Although you may be breaking state laws, this is unlikely as you will normally be barred from playing at online casinos when you are geographically positioned outside of the legal gambling states. Placing bets at online casinos is completely legal and poses no risk to online players. The restrictions from the UIGEA restricts the avenues through which players can play online, and payment options available to those players who wish to play, but player’s themselves are free to play online.
Restrictions for Entities that Accept Casino Game Bets: Any online casinos within the United States that are outside the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada and are accepting payments and operating are doing so illegally and at very high risk of prosecution. Online casinos within the legal states and offshore in legal countries are within the legal frameworks and may operate freely.
Restrictions for Online Casino Companies: Online casinos that are outside of the legal states are prohibited from accepting betting payments from customers. This has moved many online casinos to operate legally in other countries, even though the U.S government states that it is not legal for offshore online casinos to accept bets from U.S players. Whether or not they have the power to prosecute hasn’t been tested.
Restrictions for Payment System Companies: The bulk of the law is a charter of obligations of ‘non-exempt’ participants and designated payment systems and requires such participants and systems to “identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit the processing of restricted transactions”. Assisting in the transfer of funds to online casinos inside and outside the US is how the US government has tried to stop online gambling from occurring – by attacking the source. If money can’t be sent around between players and online casinos, nobody can play the games and the online casinos can’t benefit from player’s money, or transfer winnings back to players. Without money that can be freely moved, the online casino industry doesn’t work.
The United States Treasury and Federal Reserve Board have outlined five different payment systems that fall under the act as a payment participant that will have to block betting payments: card systems, ACH systems, wire transfer systems, check collection systems, and money transmitting businesses.
There are specific participants who are responsible for blocking the payments and monitoring illegal activity within each payment systems – not everyone will be prosecuted. In the case of ACH systems it’s the financial institution that makes the deposits and any third party that receives credit or processes the debit on behalf of the commercial customer. In the case of cards such as VISA or MasterCard it is the card company that will be in the red if the process online casino payments. For check collection systems and wire transfer system it’s not actually the system company itself but the depositary and beneficiary’s bank, respectively. And finally, in the case of money transmitting businesses it’s the operator itself that will be charged for illegal activity. The act makes it clear that any back office support provider to any of these payment systems and services is not considered a third party and will not be prosecuted.
Within the legal states, processing payments for online casinos and their players is legal. You will find that there will always be a payment option available to you when you play online, we have only listed the best and most reputable casinos that accept payments and transfers between US citizens and the casinos.
Advertising Restrictions for Major Media Outlets: Accepting advertising for internet gambling in major media corporations is not allowed. Major online media conglomerates google and yahoo have prohibited the advertising of online casinos since they received a government warning. Although there is no specific legislation surrounding casino advertising, most major media outlets have now prohibited it themselves. Although some fines have been imposed, no further action has been taken.
Advertising Restrictions for Smaller Media Outlets: Accepting advertising for internet gambling in smaller media outlets is a grey area. For small publishing sites there could be warnings issues, but to date no small publishing outlet has been fined or prosecuted.
Restrictions for Online Casinos Purchasing Advertising Space: There is no issue for online casinos to buy advertising space in any media outlet. As mentioned above those who have more to worry about are the publishing outlets themselves, particularly if they operate as affiliates. However online casinos themselves are allowed to pay money to advertise, it’s up to the media outlet to accept it.
The biggest obstacle for US players is that there are many banks and payment facilities which won’t process payments to casinos from US players as it is highly risky. The major cards are usually not available to US players due to the law being specific for those who facilitate the transfer of payments to casinos so you may find that your card of choice is blocked when you play online or on mobile. However as it is now legal in the states of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware more payment and banking facilities are lifting their restrictions for players in those areas, and in the future it will also be possible in a few more states.
If you're looking for a US online casino, you'll be happy to know that all the US online casinos featured in this toplist accept US players. Hence, you'll be able to deposit money and withdraw your winnings at ease. The exact payment methods available will vary from casino to casino.
Despite the fact that only three states have legalized online casino gambling in the United States, more states are now in debate in order to have the online casino world more regulated and are attempting to legalize it. You will have to follow the relevant state discussions surrounding online gambling legislation in order to keep updated on the latest attempts for legalization. The next states most likely to have it legalized are California and Mississippi so make sure you monitor the discussions happening in those states.
Most Online Casinos within the legal states have mobile versions with software for Android and iOS devices such as the iPad, different tablets, and mobile phones. However just like when you play on desktop, the same geo-restrictions will apply on your mobile. Your location will most likely be required by most mobile casinos as you need to be confirmed as being within the legal mobile casino operating states. Similarly, if you are playing games online which you leave on automatically this won’t be possible on a mobile that is turned off as the geo-tracking needs to be activated in order for you to be allowed to play. Having said this, there are still many mobile casinos for you to choose from – just keep your location switched on and you’ll be accepted in no time.
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