United States Gambling Online – What Is and Is Not Legal in the US

This year the World Series of Poker will deliver a $10 million Main Event grand prize. This is the first year since 2006 that the winner of the world’s most popular poker tournament will take home eight figures. More than $50 billion was spent on state-run lotteries last year in the United States. And Las Vegas casinos make over $100 million each spring on March Madness alone. Additionally, March Madness brackets played in sports bars and office pools across the United States involve hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. In 2014, a record $119.4 million was wagered at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl. The bottom line? Americans love to gamble. So with the majority of US citizens believing that responsible adult wagering is acceptable, why is United States gambling online illegal? Well, actually, it is absolutely legal.

If you ask the typical US citizen if online gambling is legal in the United States, they will tell you that it is not. However, public perception has been so entangled in misinformation concerning Internet gambling in America, most citizens do not realize that there is no single piece of legislation which declares it illegal for United States residents to place an online bet for real money. When the 2011 Black Friday Internet poker room shut-down hit the three largest operators in the United States, federal authorities froze player accounts. Millions of dollars in winnings was inaccessible by thousands of online poker players. However, the money was frozen because the operators of the poker rooms were charged with bank fraud and money laundering. Not a single player of US online poker, bingo, online casino games or Internet sports betting parlors has ever been charged with any type of illegal activity by the United States government.

The Wire Act of 1961 makes it illegal to aid in the placing of bets through any wired or wireless communication. This means that banks and other financial institutions owned and operated in the United States can not legally help you get your money into or out of an online betting website. The only provision to this came in late 2011 when each individual state was given the right to govern its own Internet gambling presence. Since then, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey all offer state-run, legal Internet gambling websites. But you must be located in those states to take part. So, are the other 47 US states out of luck when it comes to legal betting online? Absolutely not.

Companies owned and operated outside of the US do not fall under the interpretive ruling of the 1961 Wire Act. That is an entirely United States federal piece of legislation. Fortunately, many countries and principalities have legalized online gambling. They even certify qualified companies for providing legal online gambling options. Respected organizations like Great Britain’s Gambling Commission, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission of Canada, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta and others are reputable Internet gambling licensing jurisdictions. The cyber wagering poker rooms, casinos and sportsbooks which obtain licensing there can then offer a host of virtual gambling options to US and international gamers.

What this means for the average US citizen is 24/7 access to trustworthy and enjoyable Internet bingo, sports and horse race gambling, poker and casinos in an entirely legal manner. Not all offshore companies are created equal, of course. Sticking with well-established and highly reputable online gambling license providers like we mentioned above is the key to enjoying some responsible Internet wagering. United States Gambling Online was developed as a news and information site to point out the legal and legitimate Internet gambling options available to residents of the United States. As such, we provide a state-by-state list of all the valid cyber gambling destinations with legitimate licensing that honor US residents.