Article II of the United States Constitution, the House and Senate Joint Resolution Regarding Online Casino Gambling, makes it illegal for individuals or corporations “to operate a casino.” Article II Section 23 states, “No gambling operation may be conducted on Indian land.” Online casino activity was never specifically legalized and thus is considered illegal under the law. Unfortunately, in 2021, that same law was increased to a felony that could result in prison time of up to ten years and/or a hefty fine. The same situation has played out across the country as most jurisdictions across the United States have followed suit.
The U.S. Department of Justice does not make public information regarding pending legal cases involving state laws regarding online casino gambling, but the situation is becoming increasingly problematic for the rights of bettors. According to reports, nine states plus the District of Columbia are currently investigating whether or not bettors are being protected by law. This represents a huge expansion of the same investigation that has been situs poker online in play since 2021 when seven states investigated individual casino operators over allegations that they were illegally taking funds from slot machines without holding a license.
The expanded focus on gaming laws has also resulted in more aggressive enforcement efforts in states across the country. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice stated that the department is “actively investigating” two different cases involving alleged abuses at state-regulated gaming facilities. While no charges have yet been filed in either of those investigations, it’s clear that the enforcement of existing laws will continue. This comes as no surprise considering that the recent downturn in the U.S. economy has had a devastating effect on the casino industry across the board. State officials are trying to do everything possible to prevent gaming establishments from being forced to close their doors due to lack of revenue.
One particular problem facing casinos across the country involves the treatment of online gamblers. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently attempting to force a New York State gaming operator to return millions of dollars to customers who were improperly charged with grand theft auto. That case ultimately was overturned due to the fact that a New York State Gaming Department policy technically meant that the defendant had to prove that the victim of grand theft auto had actually been stealing the vehicle. The new policy that the New York State Gaming Commission is implementing specifically addresses this type of crime, but many gambling operators are still fighting the new policy tooth and nail. As a result, many individuals who have recently lost money through online gaming are afraid that the new laws may affect them personally.
The second problem facing American gamblers relates to the issue of off-track betting. Like many other countries around the world, the U.S. has some form of off-track betting regulation, often referred to as a “tribal gambling law.” While the specific language in this part of the law may not vary across all states, an important part of this law relates to how many times a person can be charged with off-track betting before their case is dismissed. In short, many American gamblers are being punished for crimes that they did not commit. This can have a very large financial impact on the gaming operations of a casino.
Hopefully, the above examples will serve as a clear illustration of how American casinos are struggling to keep up with their customers in an increasingly crowded market. The best online casino experience, therefore, revolves around ensuring that bettors do not fall prey to gamblers who take advantage of legal loopholes, such as the one referenced above. To this end, it’s always advisable to consult with your local Attorney General’s Office before taking any steps towards online casino gambling. This will ensure that you are not engaging in activities that may be illegal according to U.S. law.