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Legal Issues in Selecting American Online Casinos

By: Fabian Rictor, Tuesday February 16th 2010
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New players from America who are just starting online gambling should be aware of the legal situation in the United States. The first thing they should understand is that it is not illegal to gamble online everywhere in America. But the legal situation is being interpreted differently by different people and therefore it is prudent to acquire a basic understanding. This article aims to clear the air with regards to some of the legal issues faced by American players in selecting online casinos.

Some online gaming software providers do not permit their licensee gambling operators to accept players from the United States. Prominent among these are Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic. Therefore American players should not even consider online casinos powered by these software providers for real money wagers. Online casinos powered by the other software providers accept players from the United States. These online casinos are often referred to as American online casinos. The major software providers that accept American players are Vegas Technology, Rival Gaming and Realtime Gaming.

American online casinos do not necessarily accept players from all states of America. In the Terms and Conditions there is a clause that lists the states from which players are not accepted. For example online casinos of the Golden Casino group, which are powered by Vegas Technology do not accept players from Kentucky, Oregon, Missouri, Maryland, and Louisiana. Similarly online casinos of the English Harbour group, which are also powered by Vegas Technology do not accept players from Oregon, Missouri, Maryland, and Louisiana. Most online casinos powered by Realtime Gaming do not list any American states that are excluded. Some Rival Gaming online casinos list Kentucky as an excluded state.

The question that new American players would ask is whether it is legal for American players from states that are not specifically excluded to wager with real money. Unfortunately the answer to that question would be "not necessarily so". All online casinos make it the responsibility of the player to determine whether his place of residence allows him to wager online. Under this clause the player has to find out whether the state in which he resides allows him to gamble.

The problem that American players are facing is that the state governments and the online gambling industry do not often see eye to eye in the matter. The general opinion that is being formed is that if a state has not explicitly made online gambling illegal, then players from that state can gamble online. Based on this view point players except from the following states can place real money bets in online casinos. The states that have explicitly declared online gambling illegal are Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Oregon, Nevada, South Dakota, Hawaii, Utah and Washington. But not all states agree with this view point. For example Kentucky has not outlawed online gambling, but holds that the domain names of online casinos are illegal gambling devices and therefore their use is forbidden in law. Therefore players from Kentucky will have difficulty in finding American online casinos that accept them.

If an online casino has explicitly stated that it will not accept players from a certain state, then players from that state will be blocked from registering. Players from other states would be allowed to register. However should it transpire that a state from which a player has registered does not allow online gambling, then that player may have a problem in withdrawing his deposit and winnings from the online casino. Where the issue is not hundred percent clear American players should limit their deposits with online casinos to a minimum, so that in case things go wrong they are not put to a big loss.

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Comment by: player111 On: February 23, 2010
All the legal issues surrounding playing at online casinos as a US player are non existent. I actually had a legal consult on this a while back so I really don't think that anyone out there who is worried actually has anything to worry about.

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