About 26% of the world’s population gambles. That figure is only going to grow as online gaming becomes more accessible to Americans. That’s because online gaming laws are changing quickly. They’re hard to understand. Online gaming is legal in one place, but illegal in another. Read on as we unravel the legalese of online gaming laws and make them easy to understand.
What Is the Wire Wager Act?
The legal basis of online sports betting and online gaming was created in 1961. President Kennedy enacted the Wire Wager Act or the Wire Act to combat organized crime.
It prevented interstate gambling using wires. At that time, the telephone, mail, or telegram were the main methods of interstate gambling. There’s an ongoing legal tussle between the Department of Justice and the federal courts. The Department of Justice says that the law applies to all forms of online gaming, including sports betting, lotteries, and casino games. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a ruling that says the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.
State Gambling Laws
Two other federal laws that define online gambling laws are the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA). UIGEA passed in 2006 and made it illegal for financial institutions from processing payments from illegal gaming sites. PAPSA passed in 1992 and made sports betting illegal.
PAPSA got overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018, making sports betting federally legal. States have the right to make their own online gaming laws, and many have addressed the issue. Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are some of the states that legalized online gaming.
Can You Play Games Outside of the U.S?
Do you want to try playing foreign lotteries like EuroMillions or Spain’s El Gordo? While it is possible to buy tickets online, it’s not necessarily legal. You have to be physically present in the jurisdiction, even if you’re buying tickets online. If you plan to buy a ticket for the UK National Lottery, you need to be in the UK when you purchase your ticket.
Always Read Gaming Terms and Conditions
Each gaming site has its own set of rules and regulations. These are listed in the Terms and Conditions of the site. They outline the liabilities that come from playing online. Some gaming terms and conditions address data protection, payment terms, age requirements, and behavior standards. GameMine has a great example of terms and conditions. It’s up to you to comply with these terms and conditions, or you’ll get banned from the gaming site. They get updated regularly, so check them often.
Understanding Online Gaming Laws
Online gaming laws are complicated because there are federal and state laws to follow. These laws are changing quickly, too. On top of that, each gaming site has its own terms and conditions. Hopefully, you learned the laws that define online gaming. If you enjoyed learning about them, you’ll enjoy the other gaming articles on this site. Check them out today!