Legality of Online Casino Sites

Online gambling has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry, but it still faces a lot of legal problems in different parts of the world. While certain countries are very liberal about it, some other countries have deemed it as illegal. Quite recently in the USA, the indictment of three major poker site operators has caused a stir in the online gambling industry. Here are a few legal details about online gambling in different parts of the world.

Online Gambling in the US

Online gambling has been under a lot of controversy in the US. In 2006, the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed, which made it illegal for casino sites to take money for gambling purposes. Because of this, a lot of companies decided to leave the US casino market altogether. Interestingly, the law does not say anything about players who indulge in online gambling. Only a few US states have laws against internet gambling.

When it comes to betting, the Federal Wire Act of 1961 clearly states that sport betting using wire communication is illegal. Because of the various restrictions, US players find it difficult to play in most of the popular online casinos.

Online Gambling in Europe

In Europe, online gambling does not face as many problems as it does in the United States. In fact, in the UK, online gambling has turned into a huge industry and laws like the UK Gambling Act have been passed to make sure that the industry remains regulated. There is no restriction on players regarding online gambling, but operators are given clearance only if they are based in jurisdictions recognized by the UK government. These jurisdictions include Gibraltar, Malta, Aderney, and Isle of Man. Other popular gambling jurisdictions like Kahnawake and Antigua have also applied for a similar status.

Some other European countries like France, Italy, and Netherlands have also outlawed online gambling, but the laws in these countries are under review and they may change their stance in the near future.

Regulating an Online Casino

The problem with online gambling is that usually the operator of the site and the player are in separate countries. That makes it very difficult to implement a particular country's law. For instance, if a player in US makes a bet on a site based in Portugal then he is violating the Federal Wire Act. However, a player is rarely punished in such circumstances. Also, the American government cannot take action against someone in a different country. As a result this illegal act goes unpunished. The problem in this is that if the player was cheated out of his winnings, then he would find it difficult to sue the concerned company.

To make sure that the above mentioned situations do not take place, regulation of online casinos is important. It is important to check whether players get their winnings or not, and whether the casino is adhering to the payout limit that it mentions for its games. This is where countries like Australia and jurisdictions like Gibraltar have become very popular as they maintain very strict standards. Bodies like eCogra have also come up that make sure that players are not cheated.

How to Check the Legality of an Online Casino

Always remember that it is your responsibility to figure out whether what you are doing is legal or not. Even if online gambling is legal in your country, you should always stay up to date with the news so that you come to know of any changes that have been made. If what you do is illegal, then the casino might keep your money, or even if you get it, the government might ask you to forfeit the money.