There have been significant changes to gambling law in the US in the last ten years. The country has gone from the pastime being banned everywhere other than in Las Vegas to each state adopting its own stance. Not so long ago, it was easy to regulate where people gambled. Then, they could either go to Las Vegas or latterly New Jersey.
However, the rise of the internet and a general change in attitudes about morality have led to significant changes across the country.
However, the variance between states is enormous, and it is a constantly changing landscape.
Law and order
Two pieces of legislation largely controlled national gambling regulation. The first was the 1961 Wire Act, and the second was the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The Wire Act prevents people from using telecoms for inter-state wagering. PASPA banned sports wagering on a national basis. In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional as it commandeered power from the states to govern on behalf of their citizens.
This opened the way for sports betting, and New Jersey was the first state to take bets at its Monmouth racetrack. The rest, as they say, is history. Now eighty percent of states allow gambling in some form or other. New York was a massive market to open to sports betting in 2024.
More than sport
However, it is not all about sports betting. In an attempt to plug holes in state finances after the financial crash, some states wanted to sell lottery tickets. However, they were restricted by the Wire Act. After legal wrangling, it was established that lottery tickets could be marketed online. Lottery led to online casinos and online poker games.
Five states now have regulated and legalized online casinos. These are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, and West Virginia. Residents of those states can access and play at a vast array of big-name and local casinos. To do so legally, players must be physically present in the state in which they are playing.
Ball of confusion
It is easy for US citizens to be confused about what they can and cannot do legally and safely. This is not helped by offshore online casinos, which claim to be safe and trustworthy, targeting US citizens. However, do not be fooled. Unless an online casino is licensed for play in the state you are in, you will be opening yourself to unnecessary risk.
You might love to have a flutter on a match or to play on the video slots, but you also want to know that your deposit is safe. A trustworthy operator will ensure that any wins can be cashed out quickly and accurately. Offshore sites may not comply with responsible gambling rules to keep customers safe from harm.
Essentially if you play on offshore sites, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of dangers. They might appear to offer great odds or bonuses, but if they don’t pay out or scam you, it is all pointless.
Avoid offshore sites
So how do you find trustworthy sites that you can safely play at? First things first, check out any sites you are playing on hold the correct licenses for the state you are playing in. Any decent site will proudly display its license prominently on its home page and in its header and footer sections on all its pages.
Licenses are expensive and difficult to obtain. An operator who has a license is not going to hide it. If you have to dig around in the FAQs to see if a site is legal or not, the chances are that it is not. Any convoluted language claiming it is not illegal and, therefore, you can play, is another way of saying it is an unregulated site. The advice is to avoid it.
All in the review
The best way to ensure that you are playing on a trustworthy site is to check what other people say about the operator. You can see what other gamblers think about the site by looking at the peer-to-peer reviews which will be published on the platform. The trouble with this is they may suppress any negative reviews.
You might think about looking on social media as people are always quick to let others know their opinion. The trouble with blindly trusting social media posts is that they may have been created by people who have been paid by the platform to say nice things about them.
Trust the professionals
To find trustworthy reviews, you need to search out independent professional review sites. These businesses exist solely to review online casinos and betting sites. The best ones do not allow advertising, and casinos cannot pay to be advanced in the rankings. Instead, they are simply ranked on merit on a wide range of criteria.
These include best offers, safest sites, range of games on offer, payment options, and fastest payouts. They also conduct in detail reviews of individual online operators. This means you can check out every aspect of the service provided. These sites offer a three-sixty look. For example, you can check out a Fanduel review and see how they score for safety, support, and usability.
In addition, you will get an expert breakdown and a Playscore summary. Playscore represents a summary across several review sites.
Another way to know that you are on a trustworthy site is by the payment options available. Reputable payment platforms are unlikely to partner with illegal operators. They also have rigid anti-money-laundering directives that they must adhere to.
So, if you look at the deposit and payout options, you should quickly get a topline view of the site’s trustworthiness. If you don’t see any names you recognize, or the platform only accepts crypto, the chances are you are not on a regulated, legal site.
Trustworthy operators understand that the ongoing relationship with their customers is essential. This means that despite wanting to make money, they acknowledge anyone losing more than they can afford will not be able to continue playing in the future. Therefore, they have responsible gambling tools for players to access. These include self-exclusion options and daily or weekly deposit limits.
Check out the site’s customer service provision. With the best will in the world, things go wrong sometimes, and you will need to get in touch with the online casino to sort things out. Do they have chat, email, and live phone service? Make sure that the site has what you need – we all have our preferred option for contact; it is never one size fits all. A trustworthy site will give you options.
Finally, technical security is of utmost importance. If you are playing for real money, you need to know that you are safe from cyber scammers and that your online account is secure. No ifs or buts; no trustworthy site would play fast and loose with your data or financial security. If it feels dodgy, it probably is.
Don’t take unnecessary risks; play safe and have fun.