What About The Online Casinos – Legal or Not?Online casinos are abundantly available on the Internet nowadays, and this leaves some people asking whether playing at online casinos is legal or not. There is no clear answer as to whether gambling online is illegal. Mostly, the answer depends on where you live, since each country has different legislations regarding online casino gambling.
Online Casino Restrictions Per Country or StateIn the United States, online gambling is illegal in most states. The states that currently considers online gambling illegal are Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Washington, among many others. While the states are not really able to restrict access to online casinos, they are able to control gambling practices from prohibiting banks, financial institutions, and payment providers to fund online gambling activities. To keep from getting in trouble with state laws, some online casinos do not allow players from these states to play on their online casino. In the UK, online casino gambling is generally a legal activity, but there are limits as to which online casinos are allowed to promote to the UK market. According to the UK Gambling Act of 2012, these online casinos should be under the jurisdiction of the UK areas that allow online gambling. In Europe, however, some countries strictly prohibit online gambling. These include France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.
Online Casino Funding RestrictionsAside from the restrictions placed by the law, several financial institutions and payment facilities also have their own restrictions when it comes to funding online casino gambling transactions. Some credit card companies, including major companies like MasterCard and Visa, do not allow transactions with online casinos in countries or territories where online gambling is illegal. In some states in the US, banks are also prohibited from handling online transactions. However, players who try to submit banking transactions are usually not prosecuted, as the offense, in case the transactions are allowed, will be in the part of the bank.
Compliance and ProsecutionsAlthough such restrictions are in place, in truth, they are not strictly complied with. Also, the US government does not actively prosecute those who are involved in online casino gambling. With the growing number of online casinos, the number of people who play and gamble also increases, thus making it difficult for the government to keep track of every individual who engages in online gambling. This is why they restrict banks and payment centers instead, and also place restrictions on online advertising to keep online casinos from promoting themselves. Still, by 2003, reports from BBC say that online gambling has become the fifth largest online advertiser. This shows that not all of the efforts to restrict any aspect of online gambling always work, and up until now, there is no ironclad law as to the legality of online casino gambling. One of the reasons why governments are finding it difficult to restrict online casino gambling is that any restrictions pertaining to online gambling will also affect sports betting and lotteries. All of these ironically also happen to be three of the largest industries operating online, and they are still online counterparts of actual gambling casinos and lotteries that the states are very much supporting and are even earning from.
Nature of Specific ActivitiesDue to the difficulty faced by the governments in restricting online gambling as a whole, they are instead focusing on specific activities. The riskiest activities include:
- Taking bets on servers in the US
- Taking bets over phone lines in the US
- Taking bets on a foreign server
- Facilitating fund transfers to online casinos then visiting the US
- Accepting advertising for online casino gambling in major media
The less risky yet still illegal gambling activities include:
- Assisting people in making bets on a website
- Accepting advertising for online casino gambling in smaller media
- Buying advertising in a US publication for an online casino
- Placing bets on the Internet
The Bottom lineIf you are interested in online casino gambling, it would be best if you check first if it is allowed in your country and which online casinos are legally operating. Also, online casinos usually use terms to protect them in case the online player is committing an illegal act by gambling from an area where it is not allowed, so before you join an online casino, make sure you read the Terms and Conditions first.
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