The Law And Online Casino Gambling

Online Gambling Law

I’m sure many of you know already that each country has it’s own view on online gambling. I’m UK based, and over here it’s quite legal plus the UK don’t tax you on casino winnings either – a policy that was brought in to suit the bookmaking industry a few years back. I believe the same applies in Germany too, although certain German regions allegedly have anti-gambling laws.

In the USA, “land of the free”, online gambling is illegal in certain areas although that doesn’t stop the USA being the most prolific provider of online casino players. A 1961 law (“The Wire Act”) that forbids interstate telephone betting should theoretically apply to the Internet, but only around 19% of US Internet gamblers in a 2006 poll conducted by the American Gaming Association (AGA) thought that online gambling was illegal and I’m not sure if the Act has ever been enforced for Internet betting. There is an element of letting the individual States decide rather than a federal enforcement, but the US senate recently passed the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” (UIGEA) which has had a major effect on gamblers in the USA in so much that not only have a number of the safer casinos stopped accepting US punters, but banks and online funding options have been drying up rapidly.

The States that definately outlaw online gambling in the USA include Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisonsin. The aforementioned UIGEA is designed to limit payment providers such as banks an eWallets from funding online gambling. Whether this is viable long term, or even enforceable, remains to be seen, but it stops short of make online gambling illegal across the USA and it is seen as a backward step by other nations, including the UK where our own culture secretary is laying the foundations of regulation. However that said, a number of online casinos have stopped taking US players as a precaution. For more information on US gambling law, check out Chuck Humphrey’s Gambling Law site (he’s a US lawyer). In Europe, France, the Netherlands and Italy have outlawed online gambling…it’s possible there will be others so players are advised to check before they play if in doubt.

As an aside, an online gaming company based in Malta recently and successfully challenged the Italian government on their stance of banning access to online gambling sites based in Malta. What precedent that sets remains to be seen and despite this ruling being a couple of months shy of when I write, it seems the Italian government have yet to act on the ruling!

The crux of the matter is that if you live in a country that prohibits online gambling, you’re the one at risk. Some casinos will not allow access to US gamblers at all and some also publish lists of countries they will not accept. The Netherlands is another area affected by this. However, many gamblers in the US continue to play online and therefore they remain a high-profile target audience. Just be aware that your casino of choice may have a Term or Condition of play attached to players from your jurisdiction, and always read the T&C’s before you deposit.

You will also find that some credit card companies forbid their cards being used at online casinos. Mastercard is one that has restrictions in territories where online gambling is illegal, and I believe Visa has followed suit in the USA. There are however Prepaid credit cards that provide an alternative to gamblers in these jurisdictions.

OK lets next look at the online casinos Terms & Conditions.