The Legality of Internet Bingo For American Players

The recent actions of the US government have caused consternation for many online bingo players who are wondering if it is still legal to play their favorite game. Unfortunately at this time there is really no clear answer to that question. Under current law it is perfectly legal to play internet bingo, poker, blackjack and other casino games. Playing the games is still legal but playing for real money is a different matter. Technically American players are not allowed to receive cash prizes from internet bingo providers. In 2006 congress passed the ill advised Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement act which prohibits banks, credit card companies and online payment processors from handling any gambling related transactions. The details of the original law were vague and caused problems for credit card companies. In several states credit card companies declined transactions related to the purchase of lottery ticket.

The internet is relatively uncensored and beyond the control of most governments. For most Americans internet censorship of any kind is unacceptable and many regard anti gambling laws as a violation of civil and privacy rights. At the present time internet bingo operators are located outside of the US making enforcement difficult. In fact until recently enforcement of anti online gaming laws has been relatively lax. The actions by the Department of Justice stunned many players and were totally unexpected especially since there is proposed legislation in congress that would tax and regulate the internet gaming industry and provide the federal government with a new and very lucrative revenue stream.

Many bloggers are saying that the recent actions were at the behest of the established casino industry. Some say it is all about money and point to the $3 billion dollars the government is trying to collect from various payment processors. Several ewallet services have been forced to close after processing online gaming transactions. Earlier in the year EwalletXpress closed because of pressure from US authorities. The most recent victim was UseMyWallet (Quicktender) who closed their operations a few weeks ago.

Basically American internet bingo players are allowed to play for money but banks and other financial institutions may be prosecuted for handling internet bingo transactions. Fortunately there are still several reputable bingo sites that accept American players. Bingo players should realize that depositing money is risky and should follow all instructions at the various bingo sites. Withdrawing winnings is still easy and most bingo sites simply send winners a check. Hopefully congress will take action on this issue before year’s end.