Playing Online Slots in the US
America is home to the world’s best-known gambling paradise, Los Vegas. Yet it’s not always clear to people outside the States that the reason that a whole city could be built on wagering is that legal gambling is such a rarity in the country.
The same is true for online slots and gambling. That is, there are heavy restrictions on players from the USA, and if you look at a whole host of casino sites you’ll see the country on the list of restricted territories in the terms and conditions.
Throw into the mix the interaction between federal (national) and state (local) legislation and the historical anomaly that has allowed Native American communities special rights around gambling and it becomes an even more complicated matter for American players to know where they can play legally. And playing legally is very important: if you ever find yourself in dispute with a casino site over unpaid winnings then being illegal immediately ends the dispute in their favour.
The law has been slow to catch up with tech. The 1961 Federal Wire Act, which was aimed at horse race gambling, makes it illegal to use “wires” to pass information for sports gambling. More recently the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act kicked a lot of big poker sites in the chips.
But the times they are a changing. We could go into a long argument about the historic merits of prohibition as a response to legitimate human desires. We won’t. But some American state legislators are seeing the benefits of allowing gamblers to enjoy their fun legally rather than in the hands of dodgy sites or mobsters.
So, surprise surprise, you can now see this URL: us.888casino.com/casino-games/slots! That’s right. The world’s biggest gaming brand has a US site. And it’s not the only one.
The picture though remains complicated for US players. And we still urge anyone anywhere to obey the law in the jurisdiction in which you live, for your own legal protection if for no other reason.
Here’s a brief whistle-stop tour of the American online gambling picture as it stands. This is a volatile picture and is likely to change, so keep your eyes on slots news sites – Slots Adviser is the best of course – to see how things change.
In New Jersey – home of the States’ East Coast legal gambling mecca, Atlantic City – most gambling is now legal. That is why the 888.com American site so heavily features New Jersey in its public information, including this key phrase: “888casino is a regulated online casino with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE).”
There are still geographical limitations: servers for legal sites must be based in Atlantic City casinos for example; the state had to show that bettors on the sites were in their jurisdiction.
But their success – and the $100 million boost to the state’s economy – means more are and will follow.
Already New York has broken its historic link between Native American communities and casinos. This could be the first step on the way to legalised online gaming from New York State. Though, they will at some point have to find a way around the state’s constitutional block on most gambling – classifying poker as a game of skill was a good step, but can the same argument win through for online slots?
Pennsylvania is even further along the route, with laws proposed that would link bricks-and-mortars casinos with online gambling.
Michigan has tried to regenerate the post-industrial city of Detroit with gambling businesses, and this state is also looking at ways to link casinos with websites.
There are tech and technical ways around US legislation. The law that outlaws online gambling does so by making it illegal for US banks to send the money to the casinos. Remember though that if you break either the terms and conditions of a site or the law where you are living you will have no recourse if a site rips you off.
It is good news that online gambling is becoming more accessible to American audiences. And once the dam breaks it is likely that many more US citizens will be able to play online slots legally.