Are Offshore Online Casinos Illegal in the Us?

It is an open secret that the US gambling market is being rocked by several uncertainties and the 2018 opinion of the US Department of Justice on the Federal Wire Act is not helping matters either. These uncertainties have made many United State citizens and residents to turn their full attention to legal offshore gaming and online gambling. These legal offshore casinos operate in places where online betting is permitted and legal, but not within the US jurisdiction. They are therefore not subject to the same laws as the land-based casinos operating in the US, so you have to be very careful while choosing an offshore casino to avoid stories that touch.

This article provides in-depth, well detailed, and comprehensive insights to offshore gambling in the US, its legalities, advantages, disadvantages, and impacts on US betting market.

Essential Points to know about Offshore Online Casinos
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  • The federal laws of the United States have no jurisdiction over legitimate offshore casino

  • Washington DC and Connecticut forbid every type of online betting, including offshore casinos

  • The federal laws of the United States do not criminalize offshore casino betting

How Did Offshore Online Casinos Become Popular in the US?

The idea of offshore gambling in the United States became very strong due to the different interpretations of the Wire Act 1961 by the Department of Justice and the promulgation of Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

For those who have never heard of the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), here is a quick rundown.

The Interstate Wire Act or the Federal Wire Act was enacted to check syndicate financial crime and to ban illegal forms of gambling operation in the US. The wire Act focuses majorly on sports betting industry. The wire act is an effective tool in checkmating organized mob controlling the gaming industry. It also effectively controlled and monitored cheating within the gambling industry by placing restrictions on the use of telephone or other wired gadgets to communicate sporting events results in advance. Defaulters of the Wire Act like racketeers could be jailed for more extended periods superseding state law sentence periods

A complement to the Wire Act was the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act applied only to online betting. This act made financial transactions between gambling operators and US banks unlawful. This brought difficulty in depositing and withdrawing of winnings from various gambling sites.It is, therefore, the uncertainties and hardship created by the Wire Act and UIGEA that made offshore online casino very popular in the US.

For more information about the Wire Act and how it affects gambling in the US, please do well to visit our Wire Act page.

Offshore Casino Legality

The federal laws of the United State have no jurisdiction over legitimate offshore casino website. Although, there are state legislations such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Nevada state laws dealing with gambling but none of these laws make offshore betting illegal with the exception of Washington DC and Connecticut. Both Washington DC and Connecticut have very strict laws related to all forms of online and live gambling.

In other words, offshore online gambling is legal for every United State bettor except those players living in Washington DC. Offshore poker games and offshore sports betting are also not illegal. The federal laws of the United States do not criminalize offshore casino betting.

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Major Differences between Offshore Casinos and US Land-Based Casinos

  • Offshore casinos usually offer exquisite bonuses such as welcome bonus, free slots spins and so on to entice players, but US Land-Based Casinos don't offer such.
  • Offshore casinos offer free plays to players which boost their casino learning but such is not welcomed at the US Land-Based Casino.
  • Many offshore casinos accept 18 years old players while Land-Based Casinos accept mostly 21 years with certain exceptions though. Some casinos accept 18 years old players.

Offshore Casino Benefits

Playing at offshore casino establishments can be beneficial in some ways, and here are a few of the most common ones:

  1. Many casino games can be found.
  2. Plenty of titles not found in live casino establishments.
  3. You can often customize your experience in different ways.
  4. You can play anywhere and anytime through various devices and browsers.
  5. You don't have to travel to play casino games.
  6. Withdrawals can be done with many payment methods including bitcoin.
  7. You can play any number of games you choose.
  8. Live dealer games give you a chance to play in a similar way to real casinos.
  9. They offer great bonuses you will not find in brick and mortar casinos.
  10. You get additional loyalty rewards for playing longer.
  11. The RTP in an online casino is always better.
  12. Customer support is available for any help you need.

Characteristic of a Good Casino Site

Playing at offshore casino can be very dangerous to players who might not know or understand the risk they are exposing themselves to. Offshore casinos are not regulated and licensed by US state legislations, so they may treat players recklessly with no fear of repercussion. That is why we have made efforts to list out the things you should look out for while playing at any offline casino:

  • Play at a casino with good reputation.
  • Play at a casino with authentic audit certification and gaming license.
  • Play at a casino with excellent fair play proof.
  • The casino should have many gaming options.
  • Transactions (deposits and withdrawals) at that casino must be top-notch.
  • The online casino must have a very strong and secure website.
  • Excellent customer service system is non-negotiable.
  • The casino site must have ultra-realistic graphics and advanced software.
  • A unique, high quality and positive gaming experience.

Offshore Online Casinos FAQs

Despite the fact that all offshore casinos offer services to Americans against the law, some of them are actually legitimate sites and offer a very good player experience. However, the fact that they have no license still means you should not be playing there.

You can find so many real money games on offshore casinos. Games like keno, table games, slots, bingo, blackjack, video poker, and many more are available. There are different games and policies for each site, so make sure you go through the game list on the sites before you play. Free mode is also available on the casino sites to help you master your gaming skills.

You can withdraw and deposit funds through several cash out and deposit methods. The transaction methods include the use of money transfers, debit cards, bitcoins, and credit cards. They also accept crypto currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum etc. This might require you to have a crypto wallet.

Offshore casinos can be accessed through the casino’s websites and online mobile apps. The casino apps and site have the same security, functions, promotions, games, and bonuses. But with the app, you can place your wagers, maintain your casino account and play games without stress.

Some casinos require that you change your dollars to the currency used in their jurisdiction, but you can deposit money at some offshore casino without converting your dollars, you will also cash out in dollars. In a case where you need to convert currencies, you can make use of online money vendors.

While there are some offshore casinos that actually provide a reasonable service to international players, we cannot in good consciousness promote any casino that operates in USA against the law. For that reason, we recommend you don’t play on any offshore casino and find a regulated and legal alternative.

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Is it Advisable for Me to Play with an Offshore Casino?

The different interpretations of the Wire Act and the promulgation of UIGEA have created a lot of uncertainties in the US gambling industry making US citizens turn to offshore gambling. Although, playing with offshore online casinos is a tricky business and it's highly discouraged, as there is high possibility of legal implications, a proper research of your offshore casino of choice would give you a good idea if they are worth your sign up. It's of utmost importance to pay attention to legal implications of you signing up to play at a particular offshore online casino if you must do so.
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