Few areas of law are more complex than that of international gaming. As we speak, one of the largest online gambling operators in the world, Amaya Gaming, is contesting an $800 million verdict against it in the state of Kentucky. Why? Because it didn’t think what it was doing was illegal. This is a corporation that pays tens of millions of dollars a year in legal fees to some of the top legal minds in the world to be told what it can and cannot get away with inside the international gambling law framework. After all this, they still got it wrong.
The moral being that there essentially isn’t anyone on earth who can definitively answer questions about what is and isn’t illegal in online gaming grey areas. This is particularly true in the case of the United States where law, business and politics often run together into an inseparable muck of corruption.
But to the question, “Is online gambling allowed in the United States in 2017?”, the answer is, “basically, yes”. The caveat here is that you are only placing bets on poker or online casino games in jurisdictions that don’t already have legalized online gaming. This may seem like a lot to keep track of but just think of it this way: If you aren’t located in New Jersey or Nevada and you aren’t betting on sports, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Even if you are betting on sports, you still probably don’t have much to worry about so long as you aren’t betting big money. And if you’re located in Nevada or New Jersey, you have access to some of the best online and live games in the world to, for Pete’s sake, just gamble at the legal establishments.
With that out of the way there are two things you should know. The first is that there are lots of states with lots of gaming laws on the books that could theoretically be used to prosecute someone betting online. The good news is this: There hasn’t been a single case of anyone in the United States even being charged, much less convicted, for gambling at an online casino.
The second thing you should know is that legal online gambling is very new in both New Jersey and Nevada. If you are located in one of those jurisdictions you should absolutely never violate state gaming law. Both of those states have a long history of sending everyday people to prison for very long sentences because they thought they were exempt from controlling gaming law. And both of those states have a lot of revenue to protect. They take gaming enforcement very seriously.