Online Gambling in the United States – Is It Legal?
Online gambling is any type of gambling conducted online. This includes casinos, live casinos and poker. The first online gambling venue open to the public, was ticket selling for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1994. Ever since then online gambling has grown in popularity, and the number of sites continues to grow each year.
One reason why online gambling is so popular is because you do not have to leave your home or be at a casino to enjoy your gamble. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer and you are ready to go. You will also find that there are many promotions and bonuses available for online gamblers. For example one player can receive a bonus if they win a certain amount of money within a set time frame.
As it becomes more popular there are increasing concerns from some jurisdictions about online gambling. There are laws regulating the operation of online casinos in some states. This is because in some jurisdictions it is illegal for people to operate casinos without these types of formal licensing and regulation. There are also concerns from states that are considering new laws concerning online gambling, that they may ban the operation of all casinos in these states including the online ones.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in February 2021 that would amend the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to include online gambling as well as other forms of electronic wagering. In the past this type of activity was not subject to federal law. However, in the past few years the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate has reintroduced many different pieces of legislation related to online gambling. Most recently a proposed federal ban on sports betting was included in a spending bill. Although there are many legislative attempts to regulate online gambling there are no federal regulations on state-sanctioned lotteries or gaming houses.
States that have legalized online gambling include: California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. While in many of these states the use of credit cards and electronic funds transfer is not yet widespread, there is a growing trend in some of these states for credit card companies and banks to provide online gaming facilities. In some jurisdictions online gambling is totally free with no income or taxes associated with it. These include: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. On the other hand there are also complete prohibition in many of these jurisdictions.
An interesting side note regarding the U.S. House of Representatives’s efforts to make online gambling site legal is that the three representatives who made the move are all Democrats. This suggests that the legislation was more about political expediency than pure issue of policy. This could be a long awaited battle between party factions as each party attempts to come out on top in the House of Representatives. Although it may not end up as a battle which the Democrats win, it does appear to be an issue which increasingly could impact all legislative outcomes moving forward.