What Defines a Legal From an Illegal Online Casino?


When it comes to online casinos, it is important to tread carefully. With so many different casinos to choose from, knowing which ones are legally operated from a US perspective, and which ones are not can be tricky to determine. You click on a link, your ISP doesn’t block it, you sign up (and your bank doesn’t block it), and you start playing, so it must be legal, right? No, that’s not the case.

While region and content blocking may be in place for illegal online casinos, or banks won’t allow you to transfer funds to the casino, this isn’t always the case. There’s the potential for anyone to set up an illegal online casino and con people out of their money before someone notices.

How you can determine if an online casino is legal

The company is registered in a state where online gambling is legal

There are various states in the US where it is legal to run an online casino from, under strict terms and compliance regulations. One of these states is New Jersey.

Take a look over at the New Jersey government’s Department of Law and Public Safety Page, under their Division of Gaming Enforcement: Sportsbetting page. Here you will see a fairly limited list of online casinos available that have been registered with the department that are compliant with the terms and conditions of legal online casino operation within the state.

ResortsCasino is one such operator. The online casino provides slots, table games, and sportsbetting all in the one spot. If you take a look through their terms and conditions, you’ll see that the casino uses the Nyx Digital Gaming platform, and is allowed to operate as the original parent of the services offered by ResortsCasino is the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut. When it comes to gambling regulation in the US, much of the legalities are linked to the tribal sovereignty of Native American land – hence why you’ll find tribal names buried in legal online casino terms and conditions.

The company is registered in a country where online gambling is legal 

There are many different countries around the world where it’s legal to register an online casino, such as Gibraltar and Malta. Each country that allows companies to register an online gaming company has various terms and conditions that the casino must abide by. Some countries are far more strict about their terms and conditions than others.

The UK has a register of approved online casino operators where you can search for if a company has an active license to provide services to UK citizens. You can also see whether licenses have expired, been forfeited, lapsed, revoked, surrendered, or suspended. Given the strict gaming laws in the UK, this can be a treasure trove of offshore online casinos that are operating completely legally.

Is it legal to gamble with an offshore online casino?

While it is somewhat of a gray area, it is legal for citizens to gamble with offshore online casinos. However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”

When it comes to the law, it’s the business operating the online casino that needs to be aware of their legalities, and not the end-user (i.e. the US citizen). It is up to them to determine whether what they are doing is illegal or illegal, and risk penalties if they are, in fact, operating illegally.

This is fairly common in other countries, too. While the law may not explicitly prevent citizens gambling with offshore online casinos, it will state that offshore online casinos are not allowed to provide services to citizens of that country.

Why is this the case?

The reason for this is that online casinos are the ones profiting from online gambling. They say the house always wins, because those are the odds over time. Unless citizens are utilizing online casinos for money laundering purposes, then playing them isn’t so much of an issue (unless you aren’t paying taxes on your winnings, of course!)

If you are wondering whether an online casino is legal to play or not from where you are sitting, then you are probably in the clear if you can see that it’s registered in a reliable jurisdiction, you’re able to access the site without any warnings popping up, the bank or service such as PayPal allows you to deposit funds or link your account, and it has good online reviews. To be on the safe side look out for these key facts on what constitutes a bad online casino. Look for the tell-tale signs.

As you can see, there’s quite a bit to process regarding the legalities of online casino gaming, but if you’re a gambler, and make some background checks into the company running the site, then you should be well informed enough to determine the legality of the situation.


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