An Introduction To US Gambling Laws For Betting Online And Offline

Law BookGambling in the United States is a very fluid landscape with more than its share of ebb and flow. The parameters change regularly, and now that state regulated online gambling is beginning to emerge, everyone involved is taking a hard look at the laws and policies governing the various elements of the industry. Those opposed to gambling attempt to use the laws to support their position, while those who support responsible gambling work tenaciously to expand our options within compliance of existing US laws. The complexity of the legal status of gambling in the US in all its various forms can make it difficult to follow and understand specifically what is and is not considered legal betting.

This guide is going to address the various laws governing gambling in the US, and explain how these laws affect players, their options and their level of participation. Our objective in adding this information to our resource guide is to provide valuable data that empowers players to make highly informed decisions regarding what types of gambling entertainment effectively meet their needs and preferences through legally sanctioned betting opportunities.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act - UIGEA

This is one of the most misunderstood US gambling laws, and is surrounded by layers of misinformation and misconception. Many players believe that this laws prohibits USA residents from participating in online gambling. This is not true. In fact the UIGEA law does not address player activity at all nor place any type of restrictions on players themselves. Instead this law targets banks and financial institutions that knowingly process any transactions related to online gambling.

Our page explaining the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act will provide an accurate and understandable explanation of what this law was created for, what specific aspects of online gambling it governs, and how its implementation affects players in the US.

Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act – PASPA

Paspa (also known as the Bradley Act) is directed specifically at the sports betting industry, and provides regulation concerning US based sportsbook gambling. It has been the center of controversy in the industry recently, bringing into question the law's range of power and presence. This law essentially makes online sports betting illegal in all but 4 states.

Our page explaining the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act discusses the law's intentions, reach, and parameters, as well as how recently launched state regulated gambling initiatives are challenging the law head on.

Federal Wire Act Of 1961

Of all of the US federal gambling laws, this one probably has the most interesting origins of them all. Who doesn't love a good guys vs the mob story? The Federal Wire Act is also one of the most debated pieces of gambling related legislation, and has sparked a great deal of controversy after the DOJ has determined that the law effectively bans US based online sports betting.

Interestingly enough, the DOJ made a ruling in 2011 and issued a formal opinion to the public concerning the reach of the Wire Act. Learn more from our page dedicated to explaining the Federal Wire Act and how it impacts legal online sports betting for American players.

Restoration Of Americas Wire Act - RAWA

In 2014, senators Lindsey Graham of SC and Jason Chaffetz of Utah reintroduced legislation to congress that would restore the wire act. If implemented, RAWA would essentially rewrite and extend the Federal Wire Act of 1961 to make all types of gambling illegal, even if it were already legal on the state level. Marco Rubio of Florida has also recently joined the party and supports RAWA.

What do these 3 senators have in common? They are thought to be in bed with Sheldon Adelson, a multi-billionaire gambling tycoon who operates brick and mortar casinos all over the world. Learn more by reading our page explaining RAWA - Restoration Of Americans Wire Act.

USA Gambling Laws FAQs

Do US Federal Gambling Laws Govern Casinos and Poker Rooms in the United States?

The brick and mortar land based and floating casinos and poker rooms that are found in various states through the US are all governed by state gambling laws. Each state determines its own laws concerning what type of casino, poker, pari-mutuel, bingo, lottery and other gambling they will allow within their state borders. US Federal gambling laws primarily target US based online gambling and sports betting. The DOJ has determined that each state can also determine their own destiny concerning legal online poker and legal online casino gambling.

Will I Be Breaking the Law if I Gamble at an Offshore Online Gambling Site?

It depends on where you are placing your bets. There are no federal laws that prohibit US residents from participating at online casinos, poker sites, bingo sites and legal online sportsbooks that are licensed, regulated and located outside of the United States. If you limit your online gambling to these types of legally sanctioned gambling sites, then you will not be breaking the law. We do recommend however that you consider expert input regarding which sites are approved by professionals as providing a safe, high quality and rewarding online gambling experience.

Do Licensed Offshore Online Gambling Sites Have Adequate Security Protocols in Place?

One of the key elements that we examine during our review process is the security profile of each website. We don't provide our approval for gambling websites that simply meet licensing requirements or the lowest industry standards. We require that a sophisticated security profile be in place that is comparable to world class financial institutions. We want to see advanced encryption technology, firewall and antivirus protection and fraud prevention systems, equipped with a technically trained staff to monitor these systems. These are tall requirements, and only those brands which can meet them are considered for inclusion in our guide. If you limit your gambling entertainment to websites approved by professionals, then you can be certain that the security and level of protection you are looking for is in place. This is a trait of those sites that are legally licensed and subject to genuine regulatory oversight. Those sites operating outside of legal parameters don't typically take the time to invest in this type of security.

What Are Legal Jurisdictions And Gaming Commissions

Because the vast majority of all US friendly gambling sites are located offshore, they must be located in a jurisdiction that already offers legal online gambling. They must also be regulated by a governing body under strict oversight. We have a detailed article explaining what a gaming commission is and which jurisdictions are the most reputable in the industry.

More Gambling Laws By Country

Canadian Gambling Laws

Australian Gambling Laws

UK Gambling Laws