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Understanding U.S. online casino regulations

There is a lot of news in the online gambling world regarding the legal hurdles the U.S. government lays out to prevent online casino companies from making money off of American citizens. Other countries do not allow online casino businesses to base their servers on their territory, but allow citizens to gamble at an online casino all the same. With the United States, the situation is that the government wants to prevent citizens from operating and accessing online casino games from within U.S. territory. But there are increasing signs, though, that the online gambling industry may have already grown too big for even the world’s lone superpower to contain.

The U.S. uses the Wire Act, a federal law passed in 1961 preventing betting over phone lines, to interpret current policy as prohibiting online casino gambling today. One online casino informational site notes that the federal government sued an online sports betting site (U.S. versus Cohen) and won, since the charges were filed according to the Wire Act. Many critics of U.S. policy regarding online gambling say that a now 44 year old law should not be used in the 21st century, especially when many people access the internet through cable, rather than phone lines, which the Wire Act specifically noted.

As noted before, the U.S. wants to prevent online gambling from affecting Americans, and the U.S. Senate has seen many attempts to prevent citizens from paying for online casino wagers using credit cards, efforts which for one reason or another have failed but which continue apace. Whether online casino companies will get their legality sooner or later is the big question, as the increasingly agile online casino industry has shown that it isn’t going to let the U.S. being the world’s most powerful country stop them from continuing to get the legality and legitimacy they feel they deserve.

OCA News Editor