Is Gambling Online Illegal in the USA?

Background to Gambling in America

America seems to have a love hate relationship with gambling. On the one hand, there are millions of Americans who enjoy gambling and who flock to Nevada year on year to play at the literally hundreds of casinos that state houses. On the other hand, there seem to be quite a few active lobbyists trying to get it banned.


This situation isn't unique; throughout history there have been various concerted legal efforts to enforce prohibition. This tends to drive gambling underground for a while until the tide turns again – because as much as some groups wish to ban it, others wish to play.

America is a democracy, with each state able to govern their own affairs in so far as their laws don't clash with the overriding constitution, and so the situation has largely panned itself put by individual states deciding for themselves how they were going to legislate and regulate the gambling issues. It certainly isn't allowed everywhere, but in the states where it is, it flourishes, and it would appear that a generally acceptable situation had been reached: if you want to play, go somewhere where it's permitted.

The Advent of Online Gambling FAQ

This easy truce was utterly shattered with the arrival of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, and it wasn't long before the first online casinos opened their virtual doors – and were almost instantly successful. US revenues from online gambling exceeded 600 million dollars in the first year of operation alone, and have continued to climb year on year.

Being able to play online provided an ease of access that Americans had never had before. Previously if you wanted to gamble it meant a road trip to Vegas or Atlantic City, but now you could simply log on from the comfort of your own home whenever you felt the urge.

Legislating the Online Gaming Industry

It became quickly apparent that there was a problem. The Internet isn't a physical place, it's very hard to regulate it using state by state laws because it is by its very nature a completely democratic environment. You can log on from anywhere and be part of what's going on.


States which banned gambling were finding that there citizens were playing online anyway. Congressman James Leach led a concerted drive against online gambling that he spearheaded from 2000. After four years of campaigning, the Internet Funding Prohibition Act was passed, which didn't specifically outlaw gambling but made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to transfer funds to and from online casinos: if you can't collect your winnings, there's really no point in playing.

In 2006 Leach furthered his cause with the passing of the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement act which specifically outlawed online gambling. This law hasn't been as effective as Leach hoped because the language describing gambling is now largely interpreted to apply only to sports betting.

Current State of Play

So is gambling online illegal?, You cannot gamble online in the USA unless you are in a state which allows gambling anyway, which defeats the objective. However, in October 2008 the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act was introduced to Congress that seeks to define games that don't rely on pure chance (such as poker and mah jong) as games of skill.

If it becomes law, it will be legal to play these "skill games" over the Internet. The act requires operators to be licensed and pay taxes, and prevents both underage players and compulsive gamblers from participating. Gambling companies are following this law very closely, and a number of intrastate poker legalization draft acts emerged as a result of this initiative.

In addition, a new movement in the US online gambling legislation involves the state of New Jersey, and their online gambling legalization bill, which has already passed the state Senate, and is heading to the House for debate. With passing of the law, New Jersey may become the first state to legalize online gambling for its citizens, setting an example which other states may follow. Further development is still expected.


Live activity feed

  • No avatar small
    "I just started using bitcoin myself. I buy bitcoin using my checking account thru Coinbase. It takes a little longer than using a debit/credit card but if I understand it correctly the fees are lower that way. Then I transfer bitcoin to my wallet at Blockchain before depositing at an online casino. I made two deposits at Slotastic! and one at Slotocash and each time the money was there immediately. The only problem I had was on my first deposit I did not account for the conversion difference when making a minimum amount deposit and my bonus did not get triggered automatically. I got it soon worked out though when I contacted support thru Live Chat and explained the mistake was caused by my first time using bitcoin. They credited my account with the bonus and just suggested I add a little more next time to cover the additional fees and conversion rate differences. I didn't do too good at Slotocash but did much better at Slotastic! and even though I made my deposit using bitcoin there was a message on the Withdraw screen saying I had to send in their Credit Card Authorization Agreement before I could make a withdrawal. I contacted Live Support to clarify and they advised I only had to send in a copy of my drivers license and a recent utility bill to verify my identity not my credit card. After I emailed these documents I received an email the next day advising my documents had been received and approved. I then submitted my withdrawal request and expected an immediate response just like I got on my deposit but it didn't happen. That's been about 7 hours ago now so I'm guessing it might be a day or two at least if I'm lucky before anything happens. But if it happens then that'll be much better than having to wait weeks or months like some have to. I'll update later when the withdrawal is finally completed."
  • Index
    "never any spins for me. im depositor. also asked chat they said only selected players.  "
  • Photo
    "blue day thank you very much."
  • No avatar small
    "Partypoker. Not bad desire:"
  • No avatar small
    Started by
    Banking icon 4
  • No avatar small
    Bonanza game logo

    Bonanza Game Casino

    / 10 votes
Swipe left or right to see more

lcb activities in the last 24 hours

  • 46
    new members
  • 566
    members online
  • 15904
    guests online
  • 121
    new posts
  • 831
    free games played
Join the club

Highest Community Rated Online Casinos

Swipe left or right to see more

Latest forum posts

Join today and start earning rewards

You will immediately get full access to our online casino forum/chat plus receive our newsletter with news & exclusive bonuses every month.
S logo
Select Language
Search Results