Online Gambling Laws in the UK and the USA Explained

Online gambling laws are different in every country and on this page, we are going to look at the differences between US and UK online casinos in regard to laws, game selection, and the much sought after casino bonuses.

Online gambling is a multi-billion-dollar industry and includes poker, casinos, and sports betting. On this page, we are going to focus on casinos only. Most countries have their own laws that deal with all the relevant legal and regulatory issues and these can vary extensively. The majority on online gambling legislation relates to companies that provide the services over the internet. It is unusual for the government to make it illegal for residents to use these services. It is important however to familiarize yourself with the gambling laws where you live.

US Casino Laws

In the United States, there is federal law and state law as well as local gambling laws that all must be considered when looking at online casinos. Online gambling laws in the US has changed over the years and in 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed. This didn't specifically make online gambling illegal, but it did make it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to process any transactions that came from gambling sites. This means US residents cannot withdraw their casino winnings to their bank or make deposits, etc. The law specifically states:

"...prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law."

A number of markets are excluded from this bill including certain fantasy sports bets, a number of skill games, and any exiting legal intrastate and inter-tribal gaming markets.

Many people think that the UIGEA makes it illegal for US players to gambling online but this is not the case. It simply makes it hard for them to send and receive money from online casinos.

More changes have occurred in recent years and several US states have introduced legislation making online gambling legal in their state. Some have even started issuing licenses to operators. The current states offering regulated gambling includes New Jersey and Delaware.

If you are a US resident you do have to claim your online winnings and pay tax just as you do with a land based casino.

There are several online casinos that are located outside the United States that accept players but you need to check with the sites to see what states are accepted. It is important to note that most sites that accept US customers are located in unregulated jurisdictions and provide no assistance to players in the event of a dispute with the casino. Many are rogue casinos and we advise players to stick with our recommended casinos.

UK Casino Laws

Online gambling in the UK is completely legal and very well regulated. Online casinos operating within and outside of the United Kingdom can offer their services one they are licensed directly by the UK Gambling Commission. The only downside to the UK gambling market for operators is that the high tax rates.

The Gambling Commission which answers to the government's Department for Culture, Media, and Sport regulates the online gambling industry under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005. They ensure that all operators that offer online gambling services meet the necessary standards.

As a UK resident you can play at online casinos legally once you are over the age of 18. There are hundreds of sites to choose from too. Everything is well regulated and there is an organization to turn to should you feel you've been treated unfairly.

Another advantage for UK players is the gambling winnings are considered taxable income so you don't have to pay tax. There is a high tax placed on operators.

Game Selection

One of the big differences between UK and US online casinos is the game selection. The number of top casino software providers that offer games in the US has shrunk dramatically and this means that your favorite slots and table games might not be available. The best video slots and table games from top software providers such as Microgaming, Playtech, and Betsoft are not available in United States. This means titles like Thunderstruck II, Burning Desire, Avalon 2, Immortal Romance, all the Age of Gods slots, and huge progressive jackpot titles like Mega Moolah can't be played.

NetEnt slots are available to US online casino players thanks to a number of deals that have been signed. Gamesys US delivers NetEnt games and NetEnt secured a license for the Tropicana casino in New Jersey.

US online casino players can enjoy games from Parlay Games Inc, Nuworks Software, Real Time Gaming (RTG), WGS Gaming Technology, Rival Gaming, TopGame Technology, and Digital Gaming Solutions (DGS).

UK players on the other hand can enjoy all the best casino games from almost every software provider including Betsoft, IGT, Microgaming, NetEnt, NextGen, Play'n Go, Playtech, Quickfire, Quickspin, iSoftbet, and more. This means that UK online casinos offer a wider range of slots, table games, video poker titles and more.

Casino Bonuses

Casino bonuses are what encourage new players to sign up for an account at any online casino and they can come in the form of deposit and no deposit bonuses. The no deposit bonus is best for those who want to test out the casino risk free before spending any of their hard earned cash. It can come in the form of a free cash bonus, free spins, and free time. The no deposit bonus is reserved for new sign ups only.

The deposit bonus is the most common sign up bonus for new players and this is usually a percentage match on your first deposit up to a fixed amount. There are also welcome packages and these can include a number of deposit bonuses as well as free spins.

Regular promotions are also important and the more rewards a casino offers the better it is for players. Licensed and regulated online casinos tend to have the best offers and the fairest wagering requirements.

Due to strict regulation in the USA it's not always easy to find a good online casino bonus but you can find free spins and no deposit bonus codes as well as deposit bonuses.