The legal status of online casinos in the United States constitutes a somewhat complicated issue, and has been a subject of great dispute over the past few years. According to the United States Justice Department, the federal Wire Wager Act of 1961 prohibits online casinos and online casino gambling within any territory or possession of the United States.
This is simply untrue. The language of the Wire Wager Act is so archaic and outdated that no reference is even made to the Internet, much less online casino gambling. The Wire Wager Act only targets the bookmaker, or the one who actually takes and hold the bets, and only for betting on sporting events and activities. In fact, this piece of legislation makes allowances for the “casual” bettor, regardless of the amount of money involved. Online casinos are not mentioned.
So, do not let anyone scare you into believing that online casino gambling is somehow illegal. It is not. Period.
However, some standout exceptions have been made in certain states. For example, in the state of Washington, it is illegal to place a recreational bet online, even though the online casinos are located in another country. Any person caught placing bets at one of the many online casinos available will be charged with “professional gambling in the third degree,” which is a gross misdemeanor.
The proposed legislation introduced against online casinos is not directed at online casinos players, but to the owners of the online casinos, who act as recipients of all of the bets and wagers.
In an effort to abolish online casinos and their operations, the U.S. government has been investigating and pressuring American companies that do business with any of the offshore online casinos. Nonetheless, this has not resulted in anything, since the U.S. government is powerless to do anything against these offshore companies, especially since they all operate legally and with the license of their host countries throughout the world.
Even efforts to make the use of credit cards virtually impossible has only resulted in new and more advanced online payment processing solutions that have made it even easier for players to access their favorite online casinos. Almost all the largest banks, including Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, have prohibited the use of their credit cards at online casinos.
Playing at online casinos is legal. It is as simple as that. They are just trying to make it more difficult for you to have a little bit of fun.