Gambling Laws in the US

The actual legality of online gambling in the US is still up in the air. Attempts to shut down this multi-million industry have been made through federal and state laws. However, these rules do little to contain online gambling. They are just a bunch of acts which nobody ever enforces until they need to make an example of someone.

Here is some of the gambling legislation passed by the US Congress over the years.

The Interstate Wire Act

The Interstate Wire Act is over 50 years old and still has a massive impact on the US gambling industry today. The original idea was to stop operators from using wired communication (telephones) to take bets. And up until recently, this legislation was wrongly interpreted to include online gaming.

The Interstate Wire Act has almost nothing to do with the legality of gambling. It was part of Kennedy’s anti-mobster campaign, aimed at eliminating organized crime in the United States. The gangs were accepting bets “by wire”, which meant by telephone. And that translated to big bucks going to the wrong hands.

In 2011, the Department of Justice clarified the Interstate Wire Act, exempting some types of gambling. They decided that the act has nothing to do with sports betting or contests. That’s good news for people looking to play in online casinos. Here’s a link to Unibet Pennsylvania Registration for anyone interested in starting now.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)

Popularly known as the Bradley Act, PASPA is a regulation banning all forms of sports betting across the United States, passed in 1992 after a massive federal investigation. The commission recommended that it would be a solution to game-fixing in both professional and college sports.

Although this federal act has the least impact on online gambling activity, it prohibits states from legalizing sports betting. People have said that this limits the sports industry, while others say Congress did the right thing, backed by the Commerce Clause.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

Passed in 2006, UIGEA might be the youngest gambling regulation with the most significant impact on the US gaming scene. It prohibits banks from handling transactions, to and from online casinos.

The best part? UIGEA, a five-page act, was sneaked in the SAFE Port Act at the 11th hour. Even legislators admit not having enough time to read it.

Still, this act has not stopped players from transacting with online casinos. There are plenty of reputable payment processors based outside of the US.

UIGEA also has massive loopholes. A good example is a little known fact that it does not cover all forms of online gambling. It does not mention lotteries at all, nor does it touch on interstate betting on horse and dog races.