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Is Online Blackjack Legal?

Blackjack Legality in the USA

Online Blackjack in the United States

This is the million dollar question, isn't it? Is online blackjack legal to play within the United States? Since 2006, when President George W. Bush signed a bill making it illegal to transfer funds from banks and similar institutions to online gambling sites, the subject of online gambling's legality has always been in question. Many sites that once accepted players from the U.S. have since dropped those players. This is a shame, really, because some of the best casinos on the web will not take players from the United States. And who can blame them?

In July, 2006, the CEO of BetOnSports was detained in Texas while changing planes from London to Costa Rica. He was charged with violations of U.S. laws relating to online gambling. In September 2006, the chairman of Sportbetting was detained in New York on a warrant from Louisiana, which is one of the few states that has a specific law that prohibits gambling online. With this kind of aggressive prosecution by the U.S., one can hardly blame the online sites for trying to avoid trouble. But the laws in the United States are not crystal clear on whether online blackjack is legal. It is a maze of appeals and amendments that do a great job of NOT defining online blackjack.

Online Blackjack and the Federal Wire Act

Many advocates against online blackjack and other forms of internet gambling have tried to use the Federal Wire Act of 1961 to prohibit online gambling. The original law makes it illegal to engage in the transfer of sports betting information along telecommunication lines (such as phone lines). But the Wire Act makes no mention of non-sports betting games. Back in 1961, who would have thought about the concept of the Internet and using a computer to transfer information across phone lines and satellite? But the attempt to use the Wire Act was eventually appealed and overturned. Since that time, there have been other bills presented to try to pass into law that would better define online gambling and games such as blackjack.

Real Money Online Blackjack

As of this moment, online blackjack is legal within the U.S. as long as you don't play for real money. If you play blackjack for recreational purposes using fake money, it is quite legal and you should be free from any legal persecution. The simple truth is that every state has its own laws regarding gambling. The bottom line is that State and Federal authorities are concerned about online casinos being used for money laundering. But the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does not make online gambling illegal. So as long as there are no laws within your state that specifically say that online blackjack is illegal, then the UIGEA cannot really apply.

However, I should mention that, for legal purposes, state and federal laws are constantly in motion about online gambling and blackjack. By the time you read this, there may be more changes that have taken place. If you really want to play blackjack online for real money, consult with your lawyer or local authorities on the matter. Make sure you are in the clear before you decide to transfer any money from a bank account to an online gambling site.

There are still online casinos and gambling sites that accept blackjack players from the U.S. Some of the more popular sites are PokerStars, Club World, High Noon, Lucky Red, Manhattan Slots, Aladdin's Gold and Buzz Luck.

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