04 November 2009
The legality of online casinos and online gambling in general depends upon your location.
In the United States playing games of chance or skill online isn’t necessarily illegal but using the internet to pay a gambling debt is specifically banned by Federal law. This means that it is illegal for online casinos to serve people in the US even if they live in states or areas where casinos are legal.
Online gambling is illegal in a number of other countries including India and Russia but allowed in the United Kingdom and Australia. Before they go online gamblers should check with their government to see if online gambling is legal in their location.
People who live in areas where online gambling is illegal should not pay money to play at online casinos. Legitimate online casinos don’t accept bets from players who live where online gambling is illegal. If you live in an area where online gambling is illegal and an internet casino accepts your bet it is breaking the law.
Never send money to an online casino if internet gambling is illegal in your area. There is no way to get your money back, and the online casino has no obligation to pay on a bet. Since the casino is breaking the law there is a good possibility it is a fraud.
Gamblers should also avoid schemes where online casinos ask them to send money by mail or wire. You have no way of knowing whether you are sending money to a casino or a scam artist who is pocketing your cash.
You should also remember that if online gambling is illegal in your area you have no legal protection if you gamble online. If a game is fixed, you get cheated or the casino doesn’t pay you have no legal recourse. Remember, legitimate online casinos don’t do business in areas where online gambling is banned. Any casino willing to take bets from areas where online gambling is illegal is willing to break the law and likely to cheat you.
Americans have another reason not to send money to online casinos. The federal government has seized funds being electronically sent to online gamblers. In June, 2009, the US Department of Justice seized $34 million from 27,000 online poker players. This means that even if the casino is honest the government can seize money you send to the casino or your gambling winnings.