Gambling in the USA

Gambling is making a lot of progress in the last decade, especially with the addition of regulated legal online gambling  in some states.  Online Poker is now 100% legal in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware Personally, I love playing games with a bit of strategy and calculated odds (like DDB video poker) and playing poker where I have a good chance of winning money from some other players. The point is I love the casinos and the chance of winning a big jackpot.

Online gambling in the USA has been a hot topic in 2014, with Nevada and New Jersey becoming the pioneers and getting into a legal and strictly regulated online gambling industry on the state level. Currently there are no federal laws for or against online gambling, as it is know up to each individual state. In the next year or so we are hoping to see interstate poker games, as of right now each state can only play against other players in that state.

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Top 5 Gambling Sites

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Current State of Gambling in the USA

Online gambling in the United States has gone through a rough and unpleasant time period over the last 15 years. Recently, political opinion has reversed again, and states have begun taking measures to return online gambling to full legal status. These actions have gained the attention of federal lawmakers, who have recently introduced legislation to create a legal framework for online gambling at the federal level.

The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed by the House and Senate in September 2006 and George Bush signed this act into a law in October 2006. The Safe Port Act was a bill to improve security of the United States Ports. The UIGEA was added to the Safe Port Act at the last minute. The UIGEA does not prohibit online gambling! It outlaws financial institutions from transacting with online gambling companies. The UIGEA did not ban online gambling, instead it banned gambling financial transactions and the problem is that the UIGEA is so vague that banks have found it impossible to enforce.

There really are a select few safe and legal gambling site that still accept American players; be smart and select a popular gambling site approved by GamblingUSA and other reputable sites. We have researched all these gambling sites and we have played at all of them.

Recent Online Gambling Law Changes

The current state of online gambling in the United States is different for each state.  Nothing has changed on the federal level, so it is up to each state to pass it’s own specific laws about legal/illegal gambling.  As with anything that involves government making a change, it is a slow process.

The states seem to fit into 3 groups:

  1. Pro Online Gambling Group - All for regulated (taxed) online poker and/or gambling (For example: Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware) and ready to jump out in front and be a trendsetter.
  2. Wait and See Group – This is where the majority of the states are sitting.  They are not against online gambling, but want the other states and service providers to work out the kinks and to gather data.  These states will expect a smooth launch of online gambling.
  3. Anti Online Gambling Group – Conservative states that are absolutely against gambling and especially gambling online (For example: Utah & Hawaii).

Here are a few of the recent key dates and legislation that led to this point:

November, 2010: New Jersey passes the first bill to legalize certain forms of online gambling. This legislation allows in-state companies to take bets on poker games, casino games and slots. However, sports betting is not allowed. This was seen as a way to generate revenue for the state, and passed with a strong majority.

April, 2011: Otherwise known as Black Friday by poker players, this was the time when three major online poker suppliers were charged with the violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was the formal name of the addition to the SAFE Port Act in 2006. These companies asserted that the act did not apply to poker, but shut down for US players and settled out of court for substantial amounts of money.

April, 2013: Nevada wins a race between itself, New Jersey and Delaware and launches the first legal online US poker room – Ultimate Poker. Open only to residents or visitors of Nevada, this was a landmark move that opened the door for another online gambling boom like the one in the early 2000′s. Legislation has since been introduced that allows Nevada to negotiate deals with tribal organizations, other states and international groups to allow play on their site as well.

November, 2013:  November 26th is the first day of legal online gambling in the state of New Jersey!  Governor Chris Christie has has high expectations for this revenue and taxes.  Estimates are too high at $300 million in revenue and $50 million in new taxes generated for the state.
Update (1/15/13) – New Jersey online gambling earned $7.4 million in December 2013  which created $1.1M in tax dollars.

With the timeline of events firmly in place, the question remains: What is currently legal and available to US players? While the actual laws vary from state to state, here is a list of providers that still accept US players. Remember, these lists will likely grow as state-based legislation continues to pave the way for legal online gambling..

US Gambling Laws by State