Gambling in the US has a funny story. Being completely forbidden at first it is now spreading like wildfire. Today, you could call it the biggest source of entertainment for Americans. Of course, the reasons why everything changed was the introduction of the internet, mobile devices, and online gambling.
The digital age changed everything. Things have changed drastically so far, and they will continue this year, and far beyond it. Soon enough, nothing will be the same for both the players and the operators. This is why it is important to understand the legal side of gambling in the US.
History of US Gambling
While gambling was strictly forbidden in the US in the past years, decades, and even centuries, it still has a rich history. The gray area always existed and people took advantage of it. From an outlawed activity, America gave birth to Las Vegas and the rest is history. As time moved on, gambling became more and more popular, and with the inception of the digital age, there was no stopping it.
Laws and legislation had to change. With the convenience online gambling presented to the players, regulations had to change, adapt, and reinvent themselves. Physical and virtual gambling differ a lot, and with no clear boundary in sight authorities had a difficult time enforcing the law, thus we have state-to-state laws and regulations that are good to know when you’re an avid gambler.
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Federal vs. State Jurisdiction
When you’re an American you learn early about the federal and state laws. For outsiders, this might be complicated but for locals, everything is more than clear. But, when it comes to gambling things get a little blurry and much more complicated. The standards of law in all domains are set by the federal government.
However, the intricacies of gambling and similar activities are regulated by the state and it can differ from the federal law. States have their borders and separate laws. The biggest issue lies in The Federal Wire Act from 1961 which prohibits sports betting. While there are people who think it should refer to all types of gambling the opinion is that it’s only tied to sports wagering.
This is where the state laws step in to regulate the unclear federal waters and online casinos, registration, and consequential gambling at these institutions.
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Which States Allow Online Gambling?
The year 2023 brought out many changes in terms of online gambling. While it was only tied to places such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, more and more states are accepting it as a norm. Today, you can gamble freely outside Nevada in West Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Here, online gambling is widely accepted, and it has no restrictions on sports betting. Of course, there are laws and regulations to be honored, but unlike ever before, the number of online casinos in the US is rapidly growing.
While online gambling is going full throttle all over the world, some of the US states are hitting a brake. The legalization of online gambling isn’t going as swiftly as players would love it. The best examples of this are the states of Maryland and New York. In these states, online sports betting is allowed.
At the same time, they do not allow the registration or work of online casinos. While they could do a better job of accepting online casinos for the sake of the players, these states are taking their time while they try to sort out issues such as loss of revenue, underage gambling, and of course gambling addiction.
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The No-Gamble States
This is where you need to be extra careful. In some of the US states gambling is strictly prohibited. The trend is shifting towards the full legalization of online casinos but states such as Utah and Hawaii are standing still and have no intention of allowing that form of gambling within their borders.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise considering the cultural, historical, and religious implications tied to both of these states. Of course, the positive economic influence of gambling can’t be understated so we might see a shift in the way the authorities in these states think in the not-so-distant future.
Taxes and Safety Regulations
While online gambling is all fun and games when you’re in the US it is never wise to neglect the small matter of taxes. This is where it’s important that you need to take into account both federal and state taxes. The first one comes as a standard obligation nationwide while states have their take on it. So, when you play and win, you need to report your earnings and the same is expected from the operators.
In the same breath, it is also important to speak about the safety and regulation of online casinos. All online casinos first and foremost need to take good care of fair play and safety of their players and their data.
Safety is ensured by playing at regulated websites that ensure the players that there are no rigged games and that both the personal and financial information of the players will remain intact at all times. If you want to look at the body that does its job to the highest standards possible do not look further than the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
What The Future Holds?
Only a few years back the future of gambling in the US looked grim. Today, the situation is much more different. The promise of positive changes looms in the air, and we can only expect more and more states to embrace the worldwide trend of online gambling. The public wants it, and the lobbyist is pushing for it, and that allows so many states to legalize online gambling and bring income within their borders.
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The online gambling situation in 20023 in the United States of America was never better. The laws and regulations, both federal and state ones, are doing their best to please the players. All that is left is for online gambling to spread across the states and to be fully regulated in all corners of the US. This would benefit both the country and the players.