United States are a very large territory with a huge population, and it is almost certain that any software provider or gambling website would like to be present on this market and to be able to offer its services to people from this area. This would be a significant boost in the activities and profits of any company, so it seams logical that United States are one of the first steps in creating a large customer base. However, when it comes to online gambling nowadays, websites are not offering their services to citizens of this country and this affects them as much as it is an inconvenience for the potential American players. Why is this so? This article will hopefully answer this question and provide an adequate presentation of the historical circumstances that shaped the current situation.
As usual with history, we should go in a chronological order and therefore start with the oldest law that still has power over the gambling market in America. This law was passed in 1961 and is well-known under the name of The Interstate Wire Act. It is widely known that it was created with strong anti-mob intentions, since it was designed to prevent mafia from using wire transmissions to send and receive illegal money. However, this original idea is long since lost, and what is left is an old, out-dated legal document, which is still used even though it is created long before Internet era. Admittedly, it has been “fixed” in 2011, in order to allow traders to visit casino/poker sites but this change was merely cosmetic and doesn’t have much impact on real life.
The next important law came in 1992, under the name “The Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act”, or PASPA. This law was proposed by senator Bill Bradley, former basketball player, and that is the reason why come people call it “The Bradley Act”. As the name of the law clearly suggests, it was focused on sports betting and the protection of organizations which are involved in this type of activity. Even if it managed to enforce some control over the illegal gambling in this way, this law had little effect on actual virtual casinos and other types of gambling over the Internet.
After PASPA, federal government introduced another law, and this legal act caused some negative comments and a lot of complaints. It is known as UIGEA, which comes from Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and it was passed in 2006. In less then a decade this has been the torn in the eye of many players, online casinos and companies who provide content for online gambling, but also European Commission, which had some remarks that this law breaks free-trade agreements between the two giant markets. What is interesting about UIGEA is that it doesn’t specifically restrict American citizens from accessing the sites and even gambling, but it does restrict banks and credit cards from accepting transactions from those websites. This means that players could only enjoy in demo versions or something similar, with no real money involved. Fortunately, things are changing in recent years, and it probably won’t be long before another bill is passed, the one which will make online gambling fully authorized and legitimate.