Playing at Online Casinos in the USA
It's 100 percent legal to play at online casinos from many places in the world. The USA isn't one of them – at least not yet. US citizens are free to try out real money gaming sites if they choose, but regulations are in place to make it difficult to find places that will accept them as new players. The legal landscape is showing signs of change, though, and you can help.
What USA Players at Online Casinos Need to Know
The law that makes things so difficult for USA players is called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (or UIGEA). Passed in 2006, this act made it explicitly illegal for businesses to knowingly collect money from people based in the US for gambling purposes. Thus, not only was it against the law to operate an online casino in the United States, it also became illegal for casinos located elsewhere to even process deposits and withdrawals. Not surprisingly, this made banks and credit card companies extremely unwilling to allow their tools to be used for real money gaming, and players in the USA found themselves mostly frozen out of the online casino scene.
Some reputable sites, mostly ones unaligned with the larger gaming companies, still accept USA players, reasoning that they aren't big enough for the US government to pursue. There are also shadier, less trustworthy online casinos doing the same thing, making it much more dangerous for US citizens to attempt to do any real money gambling online than it was prior to UIGEA (more info on UIGEA here).
The good news is that multiple US states are already taking steps toward legalizing online gambling, which would protect USA players while providing a nice taxable revenue stream for the states. Gaming companies with expertise in both physical and online casinos are quietly preparing for new laws to pass, ready to offer new products to prospective American gamblers.
If you'd like to see a more open, safer online casino environment in the USA, the best thing you can do is to contact your senator or representative and let him or her know. Say that you believe it would be easier, safer and more convenient for online casinos to be subject to regulation by federal or state governments, and that can only happen with support of the various laws that are in the works.