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Controversial Legality Issues Surround Online Casinos in the U.S.

The United States is renowned for its traditional anti-gambling stance and its current legislation deeming online casinos to be illegal enterprises. However attempts to apply existing U.S. legislation – originally implemented to address issues relating to land based casinos – in cases involving online casinos has been less than successful. Most online casinos are based in countries where online gambling is accepted and even encouraged due to the tax revenues and employment opportunities they generate.

Online casinos have traditionally been welcomed in the Caribbean. Countries such as Antigua and Barbuda are protected under various trade agreements such as the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. The United States government therefore is powerless to prosecute operators of online casinos located outside the United States or prevent them from providing gambling services to United States’ residents. Today more than 60 percent of all revenues generated by online casinos derive from the U.S. with gamblers free to frequent international casino sites secure in the knowledge that they are playing outside U.S. jurisdiction.

However unlike the United States, some countries have followed the lead of Antigua and Barbuda and have legalized the online gambling industry. France, Germany, South Korea, and Australia are just a few that have permitted online casinos to set up shop, with more than 70 countries permitting online gambling in general. Regardless of the position taken by the U.S. government, online casinos are increasingly accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment, a development that can only increase the industry’s profits further.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.