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Understanding Legal US Gaming & Licensing Jurisdictions

The internet has brought the whole world closer.  So many things have changed in a global matter since the invention of the internet and in light of its startling growth rate, most people from countries around the world have access to the wealth of information and plethora of connections available through the internet.  However, online gambling like joker casino has many restrictions, jurisdictions, and laws that prevent most of the world from participating.  The United States is no exception to those restrictions, although things are progressively changing.  

Below are some thoughts and steps to understanding said jurisdictions and licensing practices across the U.S.  First let’s talk about what licensing and jurisdiction is exactly when it comes to online gambling sites.  

Regions all over the world who have certain laws in place to allow online gambling are regulated by their specific governments.  Companies running online gambling websites are under the thumb of regulation administered by its government. There are even regulations on companies who supply software used by online gamers and bookmakers.  All of these regions around the world are termed online licensing or online gambling jurisdictions and the organizations responsible for giving out these licenses are mostly known as licensing authorities.  

If you have an online gambling site and you want to keep things on the up and up then you need need to obtain and maintain a license for gaming which is issued by the proper authority for gaming licenses.  Then, the online gaming site will need to have at least some of its business and operations running within the jurisdiction in which it is registered.   After that, any company offering these gaming services shall comply with the laws and regulations that apply to where they are based and where they were granted a license.  

Some might think that the more restriction a region or state has the worse off it is, especially for the player.  However, this is not the case. Most of these licensing practices and restrictions are there for your protection. Furthermore, some companies opt for operating their business in less restricted regions and jurisdictions simply because they can get away with things that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.  

For instance, they can decide not to pay you by using certain loopholes is less strict areas.  They can use these tactics to delay payment or pay less than what you might have won. The good thing about this is that you can look for websites that are blacklisted.  There is a compiled list of these sites all over the internet, and you should always check whenever you are signing up with an online gaming site.

So, that being said, let’s discuss the legal gaming and licensing jurisdictions in the U.S.

One thing we must talk about is the Wire Act of 1961 or the Interstate Wire Act.  The Wire Act basically states that anyone who engages in betting and or wagering and uses a wire or phone intentionally across state or foreign borders or anyone who sends or receives money as a result of a bet on sports or any other contest can receive fines and a possible prison sentence of up to two years.  

There was some uncertainty as to whether this applied to internet gaming or not.  Up until the early to mid-2000,s, there didn’t seem to be a problem with online gaming since the internet wasn’t invented yet when they wrote the law.  However, in 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act passed Congress and brought some changes.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act didn’t state that it was illegal to gamble online.  But, it does state that banks and other financial institutions cannot process any transactions for U.S. residents and online gaming websites.  What happened next was a mutiny of sorts and most of the websites currently conducting business with U.S. residents jumped ship. They simply didn’t want to mess with the government and the other powers that be.  

There were some sites that pushed on and kept up business with bettors from the U.S.  There was a loophole for those who pushed on. They were based in jurisdictions in which betting and taking bets online was legal and licensed.  As far as the American people making bets, it was about a 50/50 split on who stopped gambling online and who didn’t.

That brings us to where we are now, which is that many states have legislation that says online gambling is legal.  There are even a few states that give out gambling licenses to website operators as long as they only take bets from people located inside their own state.  

It is probably an understatement to say that things are still a bit murky when it comes to U.S. gaming licenses and jurisdictions, although things are becoming more clear with each passing year.  States in which it is completely illegal to gamble online are; Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Maryland.  And according to New Jersey and Nevada statutes non-state regulated online gaming is illegal.

Maryland and Washington are leading a push to rid the internet of online gaming altogether.  If those states have it their way, there will be a ban on internet gambling nationwide.

The rest of the states have several different types of law which allow online gambling in some form.  However, these laws can be fairly confusing and sometimes a bit contradictory in some states.

It should be stated that most of the anti-gaming laws in many states are pointed at bookmakers and purveyors of online gaming sites, not citizens placing the bets.  Although that doesn’t mean that a person placing a bet can’t get in trouble at the end of the day. So it’s best to have a grasp on all of your state gambling laws and remember which jurisdiction you are in at any given moment if you are placing a bet online.  

There are typically three categories of gaming and licensing jurisdictions in the United States and they are as follows.

Citizens can place bets at designated pari-mutuel facilities on games such as e-bingo.  You can also play video poker and video slot games at tribal venues.

A state like Massachusetts has no wording in any of its laws stating that online gambling is illegal.  There are very few regulations in Massachusetts when it comes to all forms of gambling, especially online gaming.  

Then there is the most widespread category, the middle of the road so to speak.  These states have cloudy laws which are confusing to even astute online gaming connoisseurs.  It is often hard to fully grasp the gaming and licensing jurisdictions in these particular states.  And yes, they are often changing and conflicting.

The best things to keep in mind are that like mentioned above most laws are aimed at entities taking the bets instead of those placing them.  However, the best thing you can do is thoroughly read through your own states’ gambling laws and jurisdictions before participating in any form of online gaming.

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