- US Online Gambling

US Online Gambling

But it's complicated. There's a difference between US legal gambling and online gambling in general - a difference between State law and Federal law - and a difference between lotteries, sweepstakes, and other forms of betting like playing casino games or working the online poker tables .

US Online Gambling - All Change 2014

Latest US States To Legalise Online Gambling

•  New Jersey

•  Delaware

•  Nevada

Click here for other online casinos offering services to US players or visit the home page for some valuable bonus offers open to US residents.
It's almost inconceivable for a nation that prides itself on freedom and the right for free speech, but the US has for a number of years been entrenched in a position where online gambling has - for all intents and purposes - been outlawed.

Or has it? There are still online casinos where (pretty much) any US resident can register and play (though depositing money is a little more complicated).
Mix it all up and it's still not easy to get your head round it.  But things are changing - for some US residents and depending where you live, that is.

So here I am. In the well regulated UK. As British as they come. I can deposit money to any betting operator I want to, when I want to, and as often or not as I want to. I'm wondering how on earth this US situation came about - and how the US is going to put together the pieces of the legal gambling puzzle to end up with a whole, rather than a disjointed mismatch of different rules.

Maybe it's because of the British bit that I don't get it. So let's try to understand it together.

In this article, I'll try to pinpoint:

•  Why the US is in the gambling situation it's in
•  Exactly what US online gambling laws mean
•  What the differences really are between Federal and State law, and just why that has an impact on US legal gambling online
•  How the regulatory position is changing - including why it's changing and how.
•  When it's all going to come about
•  Which states have already introduced regulated online gambling
•  Which Online Sites Are Already In Operation
•  The impact the Indian tribes may have on the US online gambling scene

Although I'm in the UK, this article has been contributed to in a large part by a US based writer by the name of Anthony Elizondo. Anthony is a regular contributor to some other websites of mine, and displays strong passion for writing in his work.

How Did We Get Here? Why The US Online Gambling Situation Exists

Since its birth in the early ‘90’s, online gambling still continues to go through various growing pains. From general social stigmas towards gambling in general, to state and federal government trying to control an industry that shows no sign of slowing down, online gambling continues to gain momentum.

So whether it’s playing poker and a few hands of Texas Hold ’Em, spinning the virtual slots, or taking part in casino tournaments online, there are obvious reasons online gambling has been - and continues to become - more popular amongst the millions of responsible adults that partake. You can not overlook the convenience that online gambling provides.

Not everyone can just load up and head out on a road trip to the nearest casino. For many, savings on gas and time alone are enough to keep people online from the comfort of their own homes. This option also eliminates the traffic and the crowds one would be sure to come across. Sitting in a smoky casino is not a very enjoyable experience to some either.

Online gambling can be enjoyed day or night, for a few minutes to a few hours, or while watching television. Also, most gambling sites offer various free casino games, so the variety at the end of your fingertips is practically endless. Adding to the many options and variety for the online gambler is the latest mobile technology. From a long office wait to a bus commute, logging on to your favorite online site or game has never been easier.

Another benefit is economically driven. The economical benefits of online gambling through either state or federal oversight and regulation, is a factor that is still under review. Three states have already legalized online gambling, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. While mostly still in the infancy stage, legalization has already seen revenue increases in New Jersey and Delaware, as well as a rapid increase in online accounts being created. For the most part, the actual economical impact is far exceeding the initial projections.

US State Law vs US Federal Law

To help appreciate the differences between state and federal law, and their impact on online gambling for US players, lets first take a quick look at some history.

Online gambling first started to appear in the mid 90’s. Riding the wave of the Free Trade and Processing Act of 1994, organizations were now allowed to be granted licenses to open online casinos. Originating in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, an Isle of Man software company, Microgaming, developed the first fully functional gambling software.

Combined with the online security software developed by CryptoLogic, safe transactions were now possible and led to the first online casino in 1994. It did not take long for this new concept to gain momentum.

From 1996 to 1997,  Internet gambling sites grew from just 15 to 200. Online gambling revenues exceeded $830 million in 1998 alone. Online gambling participation grew to 8 million by 2001. In 2008, online gambling revenue was estimated at $21 billion by H2 Gambling Capital.

Since then, one of the major issues has been cross border online gambling, leading to all publicly listed online gambling companies closing their doors to United States residents in 2006. Through its growth, it seems the biggest problem with online gambling in the US has been the question of who will regulate it and how.

It seems federal law casts a big shadow over interstate commerce.

While vague, this allows vast control by the federal government to control the traffic of business. State laws on the other hand have the freedom to regulate or outright ban online gambling as long as they do not interfere with federal law. Obviously resulting in laws varying from state to state, from types of gambling to profit distribution.

For example, Nevada was the first state to legalize online gambling in 2001 for online poker only. New Jersey allows for much more gambling options. While the fine print is ever changing regarding online gambling, it seems the federal government is making a push to benefit from an industry that seems to be not only profitable, but growing at a fast pace.

In the meantime, if you're interested in the key ways to win money that I've listed here on, be sure to look up your state's individual laws regarding online gambling to be safe.

For more info on US Federal and State law on internet gambling click here.

All Change - The Future of Online Gambling In The US

In June of 2013, Republican Representative Pete King of New York introduced a bill that included creating a federal Office of Internet Gambling Oversight inside The Treasury Department. This bill is a move to legalize online gambling at a federal level. In a press release, the Representative stated,” With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state to state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race to the bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.”

With states like Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey now legal, other states such as Massachusetts, Illinois, and California are contemplating laws of their own. More recently Colorado too.

It seems the federal government realizes just how lucrative online gambling is, and will be. According to Morgan Stanley, online gambling will be worth $9.3 billion by 2020 in the US market.

While there has been legislation proposed in the past, this bill introduces further regulation. “ It requires that consumer protections be in place and looks to create a level playing field, giving state lotteries and tribes and anyone else a chance to become an operator nationwide in states that allow the activity to occur. I could imagine companies like Facebook, Zynga, Yahoo!, and others seeking federal licenses and offering online gambling activity,” says Michael Waxman, spokesman for Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.

Poker, sports, casino games, all forms of betting, stand to create revenue beyond initial projections. With solid regulations in place, international online gambling companies only look to push competition in the United States.

Online gambling in the US has come a long way since the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and the future looks bright.

Exactly Where Is The US Right Now In Online Gambling Development

As it stands at this point in time, online gambling or betting is basically illegal according to US Federal Law - barring for Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware residents and with others under consideration. In all three of these states there are operators who are now legally providing services. Any resident (over the legal age) can register within their state. Registrations are tracked by IP addresses, and there are no cross border transactions allowed.

During 2013 a number of other states made step to consider proposals related to online gambling, including California, Iowa, Illinois, Texas, and Massachusetts , as of early 2014 none of these have yet finalised plans.

In 2014 it seems most likely that Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and California will be the next states to get close to legalisation.

The next step in the evolution of US online gambling will be in any compact agreements. These are agreements between regulated or legalised states which will allow interstate gambling. Clearly the major players in these agreements are likely to be the states with the larger populations.

Which Operators Are Offering Legal Online Gambling In The US Right Now?

In each of the three regulated states, a number of land based casino operators have teamed up with existing online operators to provide joint services. Anyone who plays in land based casinos will recognise some or all of these names:

•  CEASARS ENTERTAINMENT: With dozens of casino establishments across the US, online sites include:

•  BORGATA:  The NJ based Borgata casino have teamed up with Party Poker

•  TROPICANA   another NJ based operator, Tropicana are working with Virgin Casino

•  GOLDEN NUGGET    A famous casino operator with properties across the US, Golden Nugget operate their regulated online site at

•  TRUMP TAJ MAHAL   This Donald Trump owned casino operator runs out of a property in NJ, online site can be found at

•  TRUMP PLAZA is similarly based out of NJ, operating online through

Out of these first operators to venture into the regulated US online market, it may well be those that already have major global operations that ultimately win out. That puts 888's partnership with Ceasars Entertainment in a potentially strong early position. 888 have a long history in online operations, providing successful services for a long time to casino, poker, bingo, and sportsbetting fans.

What Part Do The Indian Tribes Play In Online Gambling?

For decades, numerous Indian tribes have enjoyed the benefits of the gambling world through their vast array of casinos and gambling facilities. 460 facilities in 28 states actually. So it should come as no surprise that many tribes are looking into the revenue potential of online gambling. With $4 billion a year in American revenue alone why wouldn’t they?

While Indian tribes and the federal government have had agreements regarding tax exemption for years, the usual roadblocks appear when it comes to online gambling, regulation and licensing.

In 2013, The Cheyenne and Arapho Tribes of Oklahoma were set to move forward with their online gambling site
Under an agreement between the Tribes and the state of Oklahoma, the website would be able to cater to international gamblers while restricting online gambling activities to the citizens of Oklahoma.

However, by the end of 2013, the US Department of the Interior ordered the site to stop operations. In response, the tribe recently filed a lawsuit in an Oklahoma City federal court to keep the agency from interfering. With New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware already offering legal online gambling,  the outcome of this lawsuit will look to be key in the push for Indian tribes to integrate themselves into the online gambling community.

Also looking to set a precedent in advancing Indian tribes into the world of online gambling, is the Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe in Northern California. With no real laws on the books in California outlawing online gambling, the Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe is looking to be the first to offer an online gambling opportunity in 2014.

Technology company Great Luck seems to have started laying the groundwork in 2013 with the launching of the first tribal online bingo site in the United States. With it’s partnership with the Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe, it expects to go from free-play games to real money games in 2014.
For 2012, the National Indian Gaming Commission cites gaming revenue in Sacramento alone at $7 billion dollars.

With gambling revenues rising yearly, one can see why Indian tribes are making their way as quickly as possible into the US online gambling picture. Based on the fact that many states are starting to look at the potential revenue to be made, one would assume it’s only a matter of time before it becomes reality.


It's all change in the US for residents who want to gamble online safely and securely. Three states have taken up the baton. More will follow. The tribes are wanting a piece of the pie. It may be some years before the majority of US residents can gamble online in safety and contentment, but the train has already started rolling and will be hard to stop. The regulation of US online gambling is in its infancy, but it's an infancy with tremendous prospect for healthy growth.

For some visual aspects of developments, the video below is put together by, and features regular weekly news updates on the gambling industry in general. These updates are known as the "Perspectives Weekly" series - reportedly one of the most widely viewed, longest running video series in online gaming. The series features extensive and regular coverage of the online gambling industry as it pertains to the US market.

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