Since its creation, online gambling has had its ups and downs with everything from slow bandwidths in the early days of the internet, to attempts to declare online gaming illegal. The legal status of online gambling is confusing to many. At this time it is perfectly legal to win money online with Bingo and other casino games, and here is how that came about.
Federal Regulations for Online Gambling
Currently there is no Federal law that regulates or bans online gambling. Some federal prosecutors have tried to use laws like the 1961 Interstate Wire Wager Act (also known as the Wire Act), to regulate and prosecute gambling, with no success.
Their lack of success is due to the fact that the Wire Act essentially states:
“Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission…of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
The Wire Act was written long before the advent of the internet, and many have successfully argued that the internet does not qualify as a “wire communication facility.” Also, even if the Wire Act did hold up in court, it would only apply to the online casinos, “in the business of betting or wagering,” and not the individual gamblers. Finally, the wording of the Wire Act specifically mentions betting on “any sporting event or contest,” not casino games like bingo, poker, or roulette.
Since 1997, several bills have been introduced in an attempt to regulate, and even criminalize, online gambling including the Internet Gaming Prohibition Act of 1998, but none have successfully passed. So, at the time of this writing, online gambling is still legal at the national or federal level.
State Regulations for Online Gambling
Although there are no federal regulations, online gaming could be prohibited at the state level. Some states apply existing gambling regulations to online gambling, others have created new laws specifically targeting online gambling, and many states have no regulations at all.
· Hawaii and Utah prohibit all forms of gambling, including online gambling; and the law is targeted at both casinos and individual gamblers;
· Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, and South Dakota all have specific laws against online gambling; and the laws are targeted at both casinos and individual gamblers;
· Minnesota, Missouri, and New York have used general gambling laws against out-of-state online gambling sites, but not against individual gamblers;
· Florida has reached an agreement with Western Union prohibiting funds transfers from Florida gamblers to online gambling operators.
Any states not mentioned either have no specific laws against online gambling, or they have not taken any actions.
What This Means to You
As we stated before, there are no federal regulations against online gambling, and many states also do not have regulations. Additionally, many online gambling sites are licensed under specific state provisions which allow them to operate legally. For example, the Luckity online bingo site is licensed by the Oregon State Horse Racing Commission.
If you do not live in one of the states mentioned above, you should have no problem gambling online. You can even use mobile casino apps.