Casinos Regulations – Game Clash
 

Category: Casinos Regulations

Online Casinos & US Law

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Laws in the US regarding online gambling are very unclear. Some people would argue that technically online casinos are illegal but others would also point that no federal law exists which prohibits US citizens from participating in the activity. Professor I. Nelson Rose, the oft-quoted ‘expert’ on the legal issues surrounding internet gambling goes so far as to say that “no United States federal statute or regulation explicitly prohibits Internet gambling, either domestically or abroad.” Illustrating further the ambiguity of the situation, it is estimated that 70% of all online wagers originate in the US and Americans account for over 80% of online poker players and over 55% of all internet gamblers. Are all of these people ‘breaking the law’?

Despite the popularity of online casinos in America, there are different State laws on the subject which can affect citizens attempting to play in those regions and attempts have been made at the federal level to prohibit the activity altogether. As with so many legal issues in the US, it all depends on the laws of the State in which you live. Nevada, Louisiana, Michigan and Illinois have passed laws outlawing Internet gambling, and similar bills are pending in many other state legislatures. California, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Utah also have enacted laws which outlaw some forms of online gambling while permitting others. However, most of these laws contain significant loopholes, allowing legal local operators to take bets online. Things are even more problematic since citizens are generally participating in online casinos which are legal in their base countries or where they originate. How can state governments, or even the federal government, prosecute such activity or the operators themselves?

The Federal Wire Act of 1961 (18 U.S.C. § 1084) is the most often cited federal statute which could possibly be said to deal with online gambling. This act, however, which prohibits betting from one state to another over phone lines connected to the Internet, only specifically mentions and prohibits ‘sports betting’. On top of that, the legislation is targeted more at the organizers of gambling activities and was designed initially with the intent of combating organized crime. While efforts have been made to extend the act’s provisions, the only actual effect(s) thus far which concerns online casino participation has been an increased difficulty, or inability, for US citizens to make gambling transactions outside of their state using their American credit cards. However, even here, with the emergence of online payment processing companies, one sees the difficulty in enforcing any such prohibition of online gambling.

As we’ve said, most US laws aimed at gambling were designed with organized crime and the operators of gambling schemes and activities in mind. In other words, a regular player, even playing in an illegal game, would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to get in trouble with the government unless he/she were to do something that directly helped the illegal business. Other evidence illustrating the difficulty of satisfactorily answering the question of online casino legality in the States comes from the recent WTO ruling (April 2005) which upheld the conclusions from a previous case in which it ruled that US legislation prohibiting online betting violated international laws. Some states as well, such as North Dakota, have even tried to pass legislation which would explicitly legalize online poker in the region and encourage operators to relocate to the state. While such legislation didn’t pass, neither has other federal legislation which has been aimed at prohibiting online gambling. Experts predict as well that even the most recent legislation being drafted at the moment (the 7th attempt at prohibiting online gambling!) has about as much of a chance as passing or being effective as “drawing 4 Aces in a game of 5-card stud.” So, for the moment, as has been the case in the US, there is no specific federal law prohibiting most online casino activities and even many state laws are very unclear, and/or open to interpretation. GamblingPlanet.org highly recommends that in any case, you check with the local laws in your state or region to be sure of that jurisdiction’s policies before you place a wager at any online casino.

Disclaimer: GameClash.org is not a legal authority. In no way should the information presented here be regarded as formal legal advice. All of the information given on these pages has been taken from several assorted news releases and articles and its accuracy is not guaranteed. For more accurate and formal information considering the legality of online poker, consult the specific laws of the area in which you reside or jurisdiction in which you are playing.

Online Casinos & EU Law

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Welcome to the online casino: legality section of our site. The following information represents in no way a definitive or comprehensive analysis of the subject, but provides instead a useful and introductory overview of the main topics, issues, and concerns regarding the legality of online casinos. The material presented here has been divided into 2 segments – one for the EU, the other for the US – designating the differences that may exist in each region. EU and US laws are not only different but can at times, especially in the case of the US, be relatively unclear. As a citizen of either region and/or a potential or current participant in online casinos, it’s important to understand and be aware of what laws may or may not exist that could affect you the player! Generally speaking, there hasn’t been any specific legislation made in the EU which regards online gambling as illegal. For the US, there have indeed been attempts to pass legislation outlawing the practice; different states have different laws; and different casino games are treated differently. However, despite the ambiguity of the subject at the moment, most experts agree that no such comprehensive legislation will ultimately be passed and/or stand the test of time and so for the time being, most online casino activity in the US remains a legal grey area or simply impossible to prosecute.

Below you will find important information dealing with the laws and regulations that have been passed, proposed, or interpreted which concern online casino activity in different jurisdictions. As we’ve already said, the following information should neither be regarded as definitive nor as representing any form of formal legal advice. Enjoy it for what it’s worth and we hope you find what follows to be helpful!

Disclaimer:  GameClash.org is not a legal authority. In no way should the information presented here be regarded as formal legal advice. All of the information given on these pages has been taken from several assorted news releases and articles and its accuracy is not guaranteed. For more accurate and formal information considering the legality of online poker, consult the specific laws of the area in which you reside or jurisdiction in which you are playing.

Online Casinos & EU Law

Countries which have become members of the European Union agreed, and indeed are required, to accept the goods and services of other member-states. However, the European Court of Justice has ruled that EU states do not have to allow the entry of legal gambling from other members. Online gambling is thus one of the few areas where local (or, national) attitudes or procedures override this aspect of EU law and thus, differences can exist from country to country. Accordingly, within the EU, individual states have the power to decide whether to permit online gambling activities within their territory or not.

However, most, if not all, EU member-states allow their citizens to participate in online gambling and instead of drafting legislation to prohibit such behaviour, states more commonly seek to regulate it. In fact, online casinos are becoming increasingly popular across Europe with new poker clubs being frequently established in Scandinavian countries as well as Germany, Austria, France and Ireland. In Eastern European countries, increased internet access has led to increased levels of participation in online casinos as well. Where legality issues most commonly arrive at the national level, however, is with regards to online casino licensing. Most member-states, in an effort to regulate and monitor online operators, have enacted legislation that requires casinos to obtain certain licenses and follow certain rules before citizens can legally place wagers at their sites. In the Netherlands for example, online casinos are legal and citizens are allowed to take part in offshore games. However, providing an illustration of the different laws made in different EU countries and licensing regulations, the Dutch Gaming Act does not allow citizens to participate in games led by an operator without a Dutch gaming license. The UK on the other hand has essentially legalized the activity altogether and encourages operators to come and establish their base of operations on British soil. This then allows countries such as the UK to regulate the industry and offset many of the problems, such as fraud and money laundering, typically associated with the activity.

Similar to the situation in the US where different states have different laws, countries in the EU also employ different rules and regulations affecting their respective citizens. Nevertheless, aside from examples such as this, most European countries in general permit citizens to take part in online casinos so long as the games originate or are led by companies operating in areas or countries where such sites and practices are legal. The lack of specific legislation in the EU and its member-states regarding online gambling and the relatively little attention given to the issue by policy-makers make it difficult to establish a common rule or observation regarding the legality of online poker in this region. As said before, generally speaking, participating in online poker games in the EU is legal for citizens but no guarantees about its legality can be made and GamblingPlanet.orgstrongly suggests you examine the laws and regulations of the country and province in which you reside before engaging in any of the activities offered by online casinos.

Disclaimer: GameClash.org is not a legal authority. In no way should the information presented here be regarded as formal legal advice. All of the information given on these pages has been taken from several assorted news releases and articles and its accuracy is not guaranteed. For more accurate and formal information considering the legality of online poker, consult the specific laws of the area in which you reside or jurisdiction in which you are playing.

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