Internet gambling legal issues in the United States boils down to one question: Is Internet gambling legal?

The answer is best put this way: Online gambling is not illegal.

The very question defines the two biggest Internet gambling legal issues facing casino affiliates:

  1. Public misperception that online gambling is illegal, and
  2. The UIGEA itself, which causes instability in the online casino industry.

You could argue that the second problem is just part of the first. In reality, though, both are equal important Internet gambling legal issues, but for different reasons.

Let’s start with problem number 1:

Public misperception that online gambling is illegal.
“Is it legal to gamble on the Internet in the U.S.? If I bet real money on an Internet poker site, is that breaking the law?” As an online gaming affiliate, these are the questions you should expect your visitors to ask before they become a conversion for your casino affiliate site.

So, how do you convince visitors that clicking on an Internet poker ad, and then depositing money into an account and playing, are legal acts? And convince them that that the sites you want them to play at are also legal?

Consider emphasizing that poker and gambling are legal and making that part of your site’s theme. Put it up front and center; let all those new online gamblers know they won’t be breaking the law and they’ll likely be considerably more comfortable clicking on your ads. (It helps to cite an official source for this claim, too, and one that isn’t affiliated with any casino whatsoever.)

The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006), and The Wire Act
These two laws form the source of all Internet gambling legal issues, and all online gambling persecutions in the United States. With the UIGEA, online gambling as a business isn’t forbidden, but it is forbidden for banks and any other financial institutions to process payments between the players and the online casinos.

The Wire Act, way back from the sixties, covers pretty much the same ground, prohibiting the use of “a wire communication facility” for betting. Authorities are apparently considering the Internet a “wire communication facility” nowadays.

This is why the government’s online gambling persecutions have involved seizing money from these payment processors, and not persecuting citizens who gamble. It’s not worth their time to bother with individual gamblers; they want to legally challenge the would-be economic competition to their state-approved online lotteries.

The Big Bluff
Which leads us back to issue number one: It isn’t illegal for U.S. citizens to play at online casinos. Let your players know that, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy greater click-throughs and conversions.

You’ll also be helping the greater Internet gambling legal cause: Helping educate the public that Internet gambling isn’t illegal. And that’s good for the whole Internet gambling industry — casino affiliates, of course, included.

“The sites need to do some serious advertising to debunk this myth, and ease the US population’s mind that it is not illegal to play online poker!” emphasizes Carl over at He’s talking about the companies who own the online casinos, but he could be talking about casino affiliates (and anyone else whose paycheck relies upon online casino traffic from the U.S.)  

One last note: We’re talking about Internet gambling here, and online casino games. Which, for better or worse, includes Internet poker. It does not include online betting, which is a different topic, but mostly considered illegal and prosecutable.

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