The UK and Europe
For most countries such as the UK and those in Europe, there’s no problem with regards to the law. Legal online gambling in these regions has been a ‘thing’ for quite some time. In the United Kingdom, operators are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. In other places, you’ve also got the Gibraltar Gaming Commission. These regulatory bodies are highly respected and ensure that standards are maintained by legal casinos. Provided that the owners play ball and pay their taxes they’re usually left alone. With that said, new rules are being introduced all the time so it’s not quite as easy as it once was to set up a legal online casino.
Things aren’t quite as clear in the United States though. In fact in many states online casinos are illegal. There are course exceptions to the rule. But generally, America is considered a ‘grey market’ for operators looking to expand their global reach.
Do Legal Online Casinos Actually Exist in the USA?
Like our friends in Canada, the situation in the USA is no less confusing. Legal online gambling does exist but the laws are outmoded and inconsistent. Once again, ‘grey’ is the word that immediately comes to mind. Allow us to elaborate.
Legal online casinos do indeed exist in the USA. Technically-speaking, the laws are pretty vague when it comes to playing online. Some provinces don’t legislate while others allow different kinds of legal online gambling.
But as a player, you have little to worry about because it’s not actually illegal to play at an online casino. Nope. The tangled web of stipulations and rules relate more closely to the act of hosting an online casino. This is the reason that most of the best legal casino sites are located off-shore.
What Does the Future Hold for Legal Online Casino Operators in the USA?
Nobody really knows was the future is for legal casinos in the USA. The criminal code has not been amended by the Government in any way. In fact it seems that our present administration is kind of reluctant to do anything. It’s worth remembering that legal gambling operations can be taxed to hell and back so the arguments about regulating the industry will continue. A cursory glance at the UK casino industry should offer a great example of how Governments can suck millions out of the gambling sector in the name of ‘player protection’. Don’t think for one moment that our welfare is a bigger priority for politicians than lucrative levies. This doesn’t apply to Justin T of course. What a damn fine human being.
Uh, anyway it appears likely that at some point, our dear leaders will introduce some kind of ‘liberal’ regulations that allow for legal online casino operations. In return these will probably have to pay through the teeth for the privilege.
So what Does the Criminal Code Actually Say About Online Casinos?
Legal casinos in the USA didn’t actually exist between 1892 and 1969. Indeed, gambling was only legal for horseracing, charities, raffles and lotteries. This all changed in 1960 when our esteemed leaders thought it a good idea to allow 10 provinces to hold their own lotteries. They discovered that such games could be used to fund all manner of local projects. This Eureka moment was exploited to the full in time for the Montreal Olympics of 1980 which were funded in part by…shock horror…gambling.
Then in 1985, the federal government decided to allow the individual provinces to control their gambling laws. Helpfully, the federal criminal code wasn’t changed at this point which added yet more confusion to the whole sorry mess. As a result it remains illegal (on a federal basis) to operate a ‘betting house’ or other such dens of vaguely defined iniquity. But considering that the actual term ‘betting house’ is hopelessly outdated by today’s standards, its legal application is laughably problematic.
Playing at Legal Online Casinos
So in the meantime, we recommend that you play at legal casinos (offshore sites). In fact, it’s never been a better time to do so. You won’t be inhibited by insincere hand-wringers or tax hunters and provided you choose a casino that’s been regulated you’ll most probably be in good hands. As with any site, there are a few things to keep in mind though.
Don’t play at an online casino that’s not secured by SSL encryption. Otherwise, you’ll risk your personal and financial information. Come across a site without a padlock or the ‘https’ prefix and you should hit the back button straight away. You should also check that your chosen legal online gambling site has a reputation for paying players what they owe.
Stay away from casinos that have generated a lot of customer complaints. There are plenty of trusted review sites that offer detailed information about crappy casinos. If you will insist on playing at a foreign site, do your research first.
Consider Big Brand Casinos
Choosing a big-brand online casino can help ensure that you’re won’t be ripped off…very much. We hasten to add that not all high-profile casinos are beyond reproach. There are a few that have indulged in a spot of skulduggery in the past – Casumo and Mr Green immediately come to mind. But generally speaking, you’ll be far less likely to get burned at legal online casinos that’s forged a considerable reputation for itself. It also follows that a public limited company with visible licences and certificates can generally be considered reputable.
And that’s about the size of it. If you’re an operator looking to establish your base in the USA, be prepared to circle the wagons. But should you be a gamer looking for the best legal casino to play at, you’ll probably be alright. Just exercise a modicum of common sense and there’s every chance that you’ll come across a site on which you can blow all of your money