United States Legislation and Online Casinos

Most people do not think about federal legislation when they decide that they want to play a couple of hands of poker at an online casino. While the average person does not think about the legislation that allows them to do this, the owners of the online casinos and United States government are giving the matter a great deal of thought.

The problem with online casinos and the United States government is that most of the legislation is murky and no one really seems to know how to go about clearing things up. The politicians are trying to tread carefully because online casinos represent a great deal of money, some of which is being donated to campaigns.

Most of the confusion right now directly involves a bit of legislation that is called the Federal Wire Act. This act was passed in 2002. When you read the act it very clearly states that it is no longer legal to send any information about betting over the phone lines. Technically speaking this should outlaw online casinos, since they are all about betting and the internet does not work without phone line. Yet the online casinos continue to operate.

The reasons the online casinos were able to continue their operation even after the Federal Wire Act was passed was all thanks to a federal judge. When the casinos protested the Federal Wire Act the judge provided them with enough breathing room to continue their operations. The judge simply pointed out that the law did not specifically mention online casinos so therefore, they should be allowed to continue their operations.

In 2006, the federal government took another shot at online casinos. This time the law was called the SAFE Port Act. This law, which was signed into law by George W. Bush, made it impossible for banks to knowingly transfer money that they knew was going to be used for internet gambling. In other words, the banks could not transfer funds into a person’s online casino account.

The online casinos scrambled and quickly came up with a plan that allowed them to continue to operate. They simply changed a few things so that real world money was no longer being used. Most people now use a pre-paid credit card when they buy into an online poker game.

Many individual state governments are starting to accept the fact that online poker playing and gambling is here to stay. That instead of fighting against the online casinos, they state governments are looking at ways that they can get the online casinos to work for them. New Jersey is one of those states. This year New Jersey was able to get a law regarding interstate gambling through both houses. The way this law works is that online casinos in the state are legal; however they have to be in New Jersey. The only thing that is still needed to finalize the law is the governor’s signature.

It is unlikely that anything will ever be done that would ban people from online casinos, however poker players should prepare for the fact that there are going to be some laws that will dictate which casinos they can and cannot play at.