If you’re an experienced gambler, you know how difficult it is to find a reliable online casino that serves US citizens. The same holds true for both sites that use traditional currencies, as well as those that use bitcoin. In most of the United States, the legal framework does not consider it illegal to bet cryptocurrencies in online casinos. However, we need to take a look at the most critical law in US online gambling to understand whether bitcoin gambling is legal in the country or not.
The law we’re talking about is called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and it was signed in October 2006. This Act stipulates that credit card companies and banking facilities do not have the authority to execute transactions related to online gambling. In simpler terms, online casinos had been able to use the US banking system for their purposes until 2006, but UIGEA has made that illegal.
Some of the biggest global operators were forced to withdraw from the US market. However, since the Act only mentions the traditional banking system and doesn’t say anything about cryptocurrency, some online casino operators decided to switch their focus to this payment option. This loophole enabled the casinos to technically remain within the boundaries of the law.
The Confusing Laws Regarding Online Gambling
Consequently, there is no federal legislation that makes online gambling illegal. Current laws explicitly prohibit casinos from accepting bets on US soil, but no laws exist about placing bets from the territory of the United States. This is precisely why all bitcoin casinos are based outside of the country, which allows them to accept bets while circumventing US regulations. In terms of practicality, Bitcoin’s legal status dramatically depends on each specific state. There are three possible options: illegal, legal, and not unlawful.
Residents of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are allowed to use Bitcoin in any gambling activities. Special geo-targeting software must be used by the casinos to ensure that the customers are indeed physically located in one of the three states. This software is easily circumvented by VPNs, which a lot of gamblers in the States use to hide their IP address.
Laws in the Individual States
Washington is the only US state that expressly prohibits online gambling. Offshore gambling sites may not be used by state residents, meaning that they are not allowed to register there nor place bets regardless of the currency they intend to use. Online casinos are required to turn away players with IP addresses coming from the Evergreen State. However, since the state doesn’t have the necessary human resources to keep track of every potential player, Washingtonians still gamble thanks to VPNs.
Unlike Washington, the majority of US states neither forbid nor explicitly allow online gambling activities for their citizens. Players, therefore, must abide by federal laws, particularly UIGEA, which we mentioned earlier. That said, there have been no charges against players since the Act came into effect.
This legislation primarily targets online exchanges and banks that process payments related to online gambling. However, it is always a good idea to remain vigilant and use a VPN if you plan to gamble online. Also, as should be the case with any online activity you take part in, leave as little personal information as possible.
Gambling on Bitcoin games is not deemed unlawful in the majority of states. However, some states still consider this topic controversial, and disputes over it arise daily. It is uncertain whether this discussion will lead to further liberalization or prohibition. Keep this in mind when considering Bitcoin gambling, since this advice may not stay relevant in the future. Before registering in any online casino, make sure that gambling is still legal in your area.