Will Internet Bingo Be Legal in the US In 2011 ?

In Europe and the UK bingo players have never had it so good. European players enjoy the protections of strict European Union gambling rules and players in the United Kingdom are protected by the Gambling Commission, the Advertising Standards Authority and strict gambling laws. Internet bingo is also highly regulated by the same regulatory bodies. In the UK just about every town has its own bingo club and bingo games are also held in pubs. In the larger cities there are massive bingo halls that resemble a nightclub more than a bingo hall. There are more than three million regular bingo players in the UK.

In the United States things are different. Churches and charities have traditionally been bingo providers in the United States but many Native American tribes have opened up bingo halls and casinos on their reservations. In fact the first Native American gaming operation was a Florida bingo hall operated by the Seminole tribe. Internet bingo players in the United States are not as fortunate as their UK and European counterparts. American internet bingo players are at the mercy of offshore bingo operations, some with a sketchy history. Even worse American players must resort to outlandish and inconvenient methods to fun their accounts at bingo sites.

Most of the major online payment processors and credit card companies exited the US bingo market in 2006-2007 because of prosecution by the US Justice Department. US law prohibits banks, credit card companies and online payment processors from handling any transaction related to gambling. A quick Google search will reveal some of the highly creative methods used by American players to fund accounts at bingo sites. A few players have actually established offshore bank accounts to avoid draconian US regulations.

Despite the law hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to play online bingo. Fortunately there are many safe, reputable bingo sites that accept American players. There are several bingo review sites that specialize in ranking and reviewing internet bingo sites accepting American players. Bingo players are a gregarious lot and because of this dishonest bingo operators do not last long because information about bad apples in the industry spreads fast among player networks. Recently a bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives that will tax, license and regulate internet bingo and gaming sites. The whole bingo industry is paying close attention and is hoping that 2011 will be the year when the US re enters the internet bingo market.