The US Government have been very slow to react to online gambling, in fact when gambling sites first started to appear back online in the early to mid 1990’s there was no legal stance or set of guidelines imposed on gambling sites offering their services to US based players.

However this all changed in 2006 when the at the time President George Bush signed into law the Safe Ports Act which had attached to it a section making it illegal for banking institutions to allow their customers to send money to offshore gambling sites.

Before 2006 any US Citizen could quite easily gamble online, and using any Credit and Debit Cards to fund their gambling site accounts was easy, however this all changed in 2006 when US banking institutions immediately blocked these types of payments and this instantly made it very difficult for players and gamblers to send money to gambling sites.

As the years have ticked by many individual US States have now taken a new look at online gambling sites and several of them have now put into place their own robust licensing and regulatory regime that allows for gambling sites located in certain US States to offer their services legally, once they have applied for and have been granted a gambling license, to anyone located within that States boundaries.

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Do be aware however that there are still a huge number of offshore based bingo, poker, betting and casino sites that still cater for US based players, whilst sending money to those sites and being paid your winnings may take some time and doing, there are plenty of them available and as such you should carefully check where any gambling site is licensed and regulated before starting to gamble online, as you will have very little if any protection should you experience any kind of problems with an unlicensed, offshore based gambling site.

Frequently Asked US Online Gambling Law Questions

To help you get a much clearer understanding of online gambling laws, rules and regulations in the US, below are a large number of frequently asked questions which cover the world of online gambling, underneath each question is of course the answer to those questions. Further down this web page you will also find links to several other more specific sections of our website that cover each individual type of gambling sites and their respective laws.

  1. Are US online poker and casino sites fair?

    The most important question that you should have regarding any type of gambling site is whether the games are fair and random. There have been, over the years some sites that have been exposed as offering rigged and fixed games and as such this is why you should only ever play at legal and regulated US based gambling sites.

    You will be at the mercy of the operators of any site if you choose to play at one based offshore, and there are never any guarantees at those sites that the game you will be accessing are fair.

  2. How can I tell that a gambling site is legal?

    You will need to look out for the logo of the licensing authority that has issued a gambling site with a license before you start to gamble at that site. If the site is licensed by any US State then you will find that site is also listed on the gaming board’s website. Always look out for these logos and always double check on the website of the licensing authority gaming boards website for not every site that will proclaim that it is licensed will be.

  3. Do I earn comps when gambling online?

    You will earn comps in much the same way when you are gambling online as you would when gambling at a land based venue, however it is often the case the player rewards programs attached to online gambling sites are often much more generous than land based venues.

  4. What types of gambling games can I play online?

    You will be able to play every single type and category of casino, poker and bingo games online as you would find in a land based gaming venue. In fact the choice of games found in online casinos for example are often way higher than the number you will find on offer at a land based casino, and as such you are likely to have a much more enjoyable and fully rounded gaming experience when you play online.

  5. Are mobile gambling sites available to US Citizens?

    As long as you are within the State boundaries of one of the US States that have now fully legalised online gambling you will have no problems what so ever being able to access and play at those sites for real money via a mobile device. Be aware that the gambling sites will always use some form of geo location software to determine where you are and if you are trying to access their sites from outside the State boundaries you will not be able to view or access their games.

  6. Do I have to declare my online gambling winnings?

    You will have to declare all of your winnings when gambling online just like you do when you win in a land based casino, for tax purposes you will of course be able to access your gaming history and win loss ratios at all fully licensed and regulated US based gambling sites.

  7. How do I know gambling games are fair online?

    You will not be left in any doubt as to the fairness of any type of gambling game you play online if the sites you play those games at are licensed by one of the handful of US Sates that have now embraced and started to legalize and regulate online gambling sites. All of the games you will be able to access and play at such sites have been checked to ensure they are fair and random just like land based games have been.

  8. Why does my credit card keep getting declined as gambling sites?

    Many banking institutions have put blocks on credits and debit cards they issue if those cards are being used to fund a gambling account online. Whilst many banks now have lifted those restrictions on their customers living in the Sates where online gambling is legal, if you experience any problems you should contact your bank to see if the block can be lifted.

  9. Can I gamble online using US Dollars?

    You should only ever choose to gamble online using USD, whilst that is always going to be the only option when playing at US State licensed online gambling sites if you choose for whatever reason to gamble at an offshore based gaming site you may be forced to deposit funds using a different currency, and that will instantly make you liable to a range of currency exchange rate fees and charges.

  10. How old do I have to be to gamble online?

    You will not be permitted to gamble online if you are under the age of 21. The gambling laws for each US State have been set in stone and as such always double check to see just how old you have to be to gamble at any gambling site you are thinking of signing up to, for whilst casino gambling can only be accessed by people over 21 there may be some forms of gambling which can be accessed by under 21 year olds, such as in New Jersey and 18 year old can legally buy a lottery ticket but cannot gamble on a casino.

Gambling Site Specific US Laws and Regulations

Should you be interested in learning more about the many different laws and regulations surrounding a range of different types of gambling sites that are accessible to US based players then please do checkout the following guides and articles, which should give you a clearer insight into what its legal and what isn’t legal in the US in regards to gambling online.

  • Legal US Online Poker Sites – Poker is of course a very big business in the US with large volumes of cash being gambled daily in land based casinos and home games, however thanks to the many different and now legal online poker sites available in certain US Sates playing poker against a huge number of players without leaving your own home is possible.
  • Legal US Online Casino Sites – There have always been and always will be lots of online casinos who target US customers however there are only a small number of US Sates that have now chosen to license and regulate such sites.
  • Legal US Online Bingo Sites – The number of online bingo sites catering for US based players is not be any stretch of the imagination large, however if you do wish to play online then checkout our dedicated section of the website to gain a much better understanding of the risks involved.
  • Legal US Online Betting Sites – You can now bet on any type of sporting event from your own home if you live in one of several US States, take a look at our guide to legal US online betting sites to find out just which States now legally permit online betting.