Gambling Laws in USA
Gambling laws in USA have never been clear on online gambling, leaving the industry in a grey area. Americans can easily purchase lottery tickets online, as the industry is regulated by provinces. The gambling laws for American residents can be summed up below. American law is clear that it is illegal to conduct online gambling operation within the country’s borders (with the exception of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission), no concise laws prohibit or allow American players to wager at casinos based in other countries. Though it seems that no American citizen has ever been charged for playing at an online casino not based in the USA. All of the casinos featured on American Casinos allow players from the USA to wager with and win real money. Most allow for wagers in American Dollars as well. Players will be able to gamble at top US online casinos
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Gambling Laws – A Brief History of Gambling
For most of its history, USA has been staunchly anti-gambling. The American Criminal Code, enacted in 1892, banned nearly all forms of gambling. The ban didn’t last too long, though. An amendment made in 1910 allowed pari-mutuel horse betting. Pari-mutuel betting means that winners divide the losers’ stake between them, the track, the horsemen, and the state.
Things took a turn for the better in 1969 when the Criminal Code was altered to allow provinces and territories to use regulated lotteries to raise funds for so-called ‘worthwhile causes. One notable benefactor was the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. In 1980, another amendment was made. The amendment allowed for computer-based gambling machines like electronic slots and Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) to be installed at casinos.
Today much has changed. Ticket lotteries, horse racing, charitable gaming such as bingo, and some online gambling is regulated by provinces and territories. They bring in much-needed revenue that helps run the country.
Gaming Authorities in the USA
Gaming authorities exist in every country. They ensure that all gaming is fair, and in accordance with the law. In USA, gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction. This means that each province determines its own gaming laws. Some provinces allow for nearly every form of gambling, while some allow none at all. Horse racing is excluded. It is regulated by the American Agency. The internet is not limited to provinces, hence the grey area.
The Gaming Commission
Gaming Commission is a gaming authority based in an Indian reserve recognized as a sovereign nation and is not governed by law. The Gaming Authority recognized the opportunities, online gaming providers, in the late 1990s. Since then, it has become host to many online gaming operators who allow players from USA and the world to play casino games for real money. The commission regulates and issues licenses to casinos, as well as its three own land-based poker rooms. Each operator needs to meet a strict set of criteria before they are issued with a license by the Kahnawake commission.
Gambling Laws – eCOGRA
eCOGRA is an independent body that aims to protect casino players through self-regulation in the casino industry. eCOGRA was established in 2003 with several key policy objectives:
The protection of vulnerable customers
This means that a casino should ensure that they have relevant details of gambling addiction helplines readily available to customers.
The prevention of underage gambling
It is crucial to prevent underage players from illegally wagering money. That is why casinos should have stringent checks in place to prevent illegal gambling. If not, both the casino and the player can face legal consequences if the necessary steps aren’t taken.
Ensuring fair gaming through the use of Random Number Generators (RNGs)
A Random Number Generator (RNG) is the industry standard for determining the outcome of any wager. An RNG ensures that all play is fair and that neither casino nor the player knows the outcome of a wager beforehand.
The protection of players’ privacy and information amongst many other objectives
A casino should use 128-bit SSL encryption to prevent players’ personal details from being stolen. A casino that doesn’t use encryption won’t get eCOGRA’s stamp of approval. Casinos that comply with all of eCOGRA’s objectives will get the ‘eCOGRA Stamp of Approval’. Players should always look out for the stamp on a casino before they sign up.
Gambling Laws – Registering at an Online American Casino
The best casinos require players to provide proof of identity when registering a profile. A casino will usually require a player to submit copies of proof of identity (e.g. A driver’s license) and proof of address (eg. A utility bill). If a casino does allow for wagers to be made without the proof of identity, they won’t allow for any withdrawals without it. Players should ideally always have the documents with them while playing at a casino.
Gambling Laws – Sports Betting
Unlike in the United States, sports betting is allowed under American Law. The American Criminal Code allows for parlay bets on three matches or more. There are organizations that are trying to have the restriction removed and to allow American gamblers to wagering on one sporting event at a time.
The Future of Gambling Laws
The need for an all-encompassing and clear law around online gambling in USA is key. More and more countries see the value of online gambling and the benefits of regulating it, and USA is no exception. With the advent of online lottery tickets, it seems like only a matter of time before all forms of online gambling is permitted. This is good news for American players. A regulated online gambling industry means more choice, fewer instances of fraud, and better bonuses for players as casinos look to compete against each other.
Gambling Laws FAQs in USA
How old do I have to be to gamble online in USA?
The general legal age to gamble at land-based sites in USA in 18, but this can vary. This law only applies to the entrance to restaurants and theatres in casinos. Every casino featured on American Casinos will do an age verification when a player signs up to the casino. Here they will stipulate their minimum age requirements.
How do I know if an online casino is regulated?
At American Casinos, we only feature the best casinos that are regulated by eCOGRA. This means that all play is fair and that the casino makes every attempt to prevent underage gambling. Look for the eCOGRA stamp of approval on the online casino’s home page for peace of mind when gambling.
Can I register a complaint against an online casino?
In the off chance that a player has a complaint against a casino, they should first make every attempt to resolve the complaint with the casino operator. If the casino operator can’t or won’t resolve the issue, a player can lay a complaint with the licensing authority the site is registered in. For example, if an online casino is registered in Malta, complaints can be lodged with the Malta Gaming Authority. Complaints can also be issued directly with eCOGRA.
What currency do I wager with at a casino that isn’t based in USA?
That depends on the online casino operator. Most of the casinos featured on American Casinos allow players to wager with American Dollars. Every online casino will state what currencies they accept wagers in. Players should ensure that they have the correct currency to wager in before they create a profile at an online casino.
Why do some casinos don’t allow American players?
Not all casinos allow American players to wager at their sites. This can be attributed to the complexities of American gambling laws. However, all of the casinos featured on American Casinos allow American players to wager on their sites.
Is there support to help with gambling addiction?
Yes. Players who feel that they have a gambling addiction can visit www.problemgambling.ca to get help. A good rule of thumb to help curb problem gambling is to budget. Players should ideally plan how much money they have to wager with per month. They can break this figure up into daily or weekly amounts. For example – If a player has USD500 to wager with every month, they can divide that as USD125 a week. Players who know their limits are less likely to have a gambling addiction