There's a lot of information available on US gambling legislation, but very little of it helps make the overall picture picture clearer.

This article will try to offer a clear overview of the US situation and the implications it has for you as an American online gambler.


Federal Online Gambling Legislation

Back in September 2006 the US Senate and the House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill called the SAFE Port Act. Amended to this act was legislation prohibiting financial institutions from transferring funds to online gambling operators.

This legislation became known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The initial aim of the UIGEA was to prevent online gambling in the US, by preventing financial transaction to offshore online casinos could take place.

The UIGEA is by no means aimed at individuals who place bets at online casinos. It only prohibits US financial institutions from doing business with offshore online casino operators.

Although the passing of the UIGEA did not stop Americans from placing real-money wagers at foreign online casinos, it did lead to a drastic decline in the number and variety of online casinos welcoming US players. 

Despite compliance with the UIGEA regulations being required only years later, Party Gaming for example immediately announced suspension of its US operations (causing its stock price to drop by 60%). 

Microgaming, which currently powers just under 100 online casinos, was another major player that stopped accepting US players after the passing of the UIGEA.      

Barney Frank’s HR 2267 Bill

To try and undo the effects of the UIGEA, Barney Frank re-introduced his Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act in May, 2009.

This Act, known as HR 2267, was voted upon by the House Financial Services Committee on July 28, 2010 and passed with a vote of 41-22-1.

Unfortunately, HR 2267 was not voted on in time by the House of Representatives. By the end of 2010 a new US Congress had to be chosen, and due to time constraints and administrative backlog the voting never took place.

As far as federal legislation goes, full UIGEA compliance is required of US financial institutions as of June 1, 2010. Frank’s bill now has to be re-introduced, and any change in the federal online gambling legislation seems unlikely in the near future.

State Laws – New Jersey Situation

On January 10, 2011 a bill enabling New Jersey residents to place bets at licensed online casinos passed the New Jersey General Assembly and the Senate. The only thing needed for the bill to become law was the signature of Governor Chris Christie.

Judging from the comfortable margin with which the bill passed the legislature, chances looked good the bill would become law by the end of February 2011.

As soon the bill became law, Atlantic City casinos could apply for licenses to offer their games to New Jersey residents over the internet. Offshore gambling companies, however, would not be allowed to directly cater to New Jersey residents. 

Under the legislation, foreign gambling companies could try to team up with Atlantic City casinos but all online casino operations must take place on the premises of an Atlantic City land-based casino.

The bill suffered a temporary setback on March 4 when Gov. Christie exercised his veto power and declined to sign the bill, saying it didn't properly address the State Constitution.

He did however suggest the state Legislature could revive the Bill and have voters approve it by referendum.

US States With No Laws Prohibiting Online Gambling 

Neither the UIGEA, nor any other federal law, explicitly prohibits American citizens from placing bets at an online casino.

Consequently, all US citizens are legally allowed to place bets at an online casino, unless state laws dictate otherwise.

The following states have no laws that prohibit their citizens from gambling at online casinos:

Alabama

Hawaii

Mississippi

Oklahoma

Alaska

Idaho

Missouri

Pennsylvania

Arizona

Iowa

Nebraska

Rhode Island

Arkansas

Kansas

New Hampshire

South Carolina

California

Kentucky

New Jersey

Tennessee

Colorado

Maine

New Mexico

Texas

Connecticut

Maryland

New York

Utah

Delaware

Massachusetts

North Carolina

Vermont

Dist. of Columbia

Michigan

North Dakota

Virginia

Florida

Minnesota

Ohio

West Virginia

Georgia

   

 

If you live in any of the above listed states you have nothing to worry about and you can freely gambling at the best US-friendly online casinos.