When it comes to gambling at online casinos and sports betting sites for US citizens, it is very hard for the authorities to take proper action according to the law. The main reason is that most of this activity takes place from personal computers and mobile devices that are not that easy to track. Furthermore, even though online casinos for US citizens is considered illegal, the authorities are loathe to investigate these relative ‘small fish’ and generally concentrate their resources on those who have set up illegal gambling and sports betting sites on US soil.
The way around this for online casino operators is to set up their servers in other countries – and the list of host countries where online gambling and sports betting is vast, including many US-friendly states such as France, Canada, Germany and Australia.
The decision taken by online casino operators as to where they host these casinos varies. Some countries are open just because their laws do not prohibit it. However, other countries actually attract online casino operators with tax incentives as a way of injecting this foreign currency into their economies. Other revenue is generated from licensing and physical rental of office space where the servers and call centers are held.
However, just because authorities are not necessarily after the individual online US better, there have been cases where citizens have been caught. In this case, the online casino can withhold any winnings. It is therefore important for any US citizens to read the terms and conditions of these internationally based casino sites.
Although many payment options are available online for US citizens to receive their winnings, the US Wager Act has declared it illegal to use the method of wire transfers of winning bets. This includes any digital transfers. Therefore, a casino that has been set up in South Korea is technically not abiding by US law if they pay out a player’s winnings that is based in the USA. The problem there is that there is little to no legal recourse that the US authorities can take on a casino based in a foreign country.
Those who do decide to risk the wrath of the US authorities should choose carefully which online casinos and sports betting sites they wish to sign up with. If a casino refuses to pay out, there is little a US-based player can do. Most online casinos are highly reputable, and do not wish to risk any reputational damage caused by not paying out a player’s winnings. The Internet is a small place when it comes to bad service, and any blogs or posts about bad casino ethics would spread quickly.
Some countries even go as far as placing laws that protect the player. In Finland, casinos are monitored to ensure that players are paid out and the jackpots are openly displayed and audited. Knowing all the risks, however small is important. It is at the US player’s discretion as to where they wish to play, or if they wish to play at all.