Is It Legal to Play Online Bingo in the US ?

After the recent seizures of several poker sites many online bingo players in the United States are probably wondering if it is legal to play at their favorite bingo sites. The answer is a resounding yes but things get complicated when financial transactions are involved. There is no law against playing bingo, poker, blackjack and other gambling games online. Unfortunately American players are not allowed to play for real cash. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) prohibits credit card companies, banks and online payment processors and ewallet services from handling any transactions related to gambling. Originally the rules were vague and enforcement was lax but not anymore. Many Americans see this particular gambling law as a gross infringement of civil liberties and the law has sparked a legal dispute between the United States and the nation of Antigua.

The very nature of the internet makes the law very difficult to enforce. The internet is global in scope and internet censorship is unacceptable to a majority of Americans. Many see the internet as one of the last bastions of total freedom and resent any attempts by government to censor or control it. Millions of Americans play bingo online and thanks to current laws bingo sites are located offshore and cannot be controlled by the US government. Since the internet is beyond the control of the government law enforcement agencies have focused on the financial aspect of online gaming. Banks and financial institutions are regulated by the various government agencies giving enforcers an opening to stop Americans from gambling online.

To answer the original question; Americans may not play bingo for money and banks and credit card companies are not allowed to process gaming related transactions. Some credit card companies have imposed a ban on players at land based casinos. At the present time there are several bingo sites still accepting players from the United States but many have withdrawn from the US market after the recent domain seizures. There are still a few deposit and withdrawal methods available to American players but since authorities are focusing on financial transactions the future of these methods is uncertain.

The recent actions by the United States will have little or no effect on players in the UK and Europe. After the UIGEA was passed in 2006 most European gaming sites withdrew from the American market and remain safe and secure. Many experts say that online gaming will be legal in the US sometime this year but after the recent heavy handed actions by US regulators many are skeptical.

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