Why Online Gambling is Legal in Pennsylvania
While the Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits online gambling across the US as a nation, the ultimate responsibility for legalizing sports betting and casino sites is held by the states. And this is precisely why it is possible for the residents of Pennsylvania (PA), to register with online gambling brands that operate solely in the state.
The Legalization of Online Casinos in PA
In PA, the residents have the freedom to claim a no deposit bonus US offer whenever one is available, which would be awesome for any US gamblers if they were given the opportunity. Aside from online casinos, the residents of PA can also place wagers on sports or in online poker rooms. This freedom goes beyond what most of the country can enjoy in terms of gambling activities.
The reason why the law is different in PA is that the state legislature voted in October 2019 to approve the introduction of a bill that would legalize online gambling across the entire state. When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2018, this then paved the way for sports betting to also be conducted online.
With COVID-19 causing disruption across the state, incuding within the field of mental health, people need distractions. At the same time, it has also been important for the state authorities to ensure that the services are provided safely and that players can implement payment controls or depend on responsible gambling services when needed.
For anyone who chooses to register with an online casino in PA, they will benefit from playing at a regulated gaming site that contains all of the required benefits. At a glance, here are some of the perks to monitor:
The offers: Early on, you can try to claim a package of bonuses and free spins. As you play on, you can begin to target loyalty points and release further bonus rewards;
The compatibility: Does the casino let you play on the move? Is there an app or can you play instantly from a web browser on iOS or Android? These are important considerations;
The software: Can you tell how many software providers are present? Some of the good ones are NE tent, Microgaming, and IGT. If you can see multiple providers, this will give you more games to enjoy;
The payments: How simple is it to make a payment? You should look for payment methods that you already use, such as a credit card or a leading eWallet;
The security: Never send a payment or provide information to a site that does not have encryption. You can tell by looking for a secure image in your web address bar;
The license: Just because you can register, do not assume that the casino is licensed in your state. There are rogue operators out there who serve the entire US despite not being permitted.
Online Casino Legalization in North America
While American players have options in certain states, Canada is still working towards a national marketplace in which single event betting is legal. If the legislation changes as expected, operators will get to provide online casino games, though the wait could be longer before single event betting is made legal in each province.
If Canada does achieve the national legalization of single event betting, then there will be a lot of jealous sports fans across America. Okay, there are several legal markets in the US, but these are restricted to specific states. Outside of PA, the other notable markets include Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. With more and more states going legal and exercising their rights, it could soon push the federal government to the point where action will be required.
A resistance to sports betting and online gambling in North America is reminiscent of the prohibition era and takes away the choice from the citizens of the US and Canada. In the US, players can get around this by placing bets in states where single event betting is legal. Meanwhile, some Canadian players visit offshore gambling operators that are willing to serve the market. This means that the government is missing out on regulated taxes by not licensing those operators.
New Hampshire to Bring Down Wire Act?
In recent news, there was ground-breaking moment when the US Court of Appeals made a January 2021 ruling on the Federal Wire Act. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission had brought a case to the Court of Appeals that argued that the act only applied to sports betting. If proved correct, this would open up the legalization for all other forms of online gambling across the country.
To reach this point, let’s go back to 2011 when the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) responded to state lotteries, which asked whether they could route data across state lines to sell tickets. Ultimately, the OLC stated that the Wire Act was only supposed to apply if a “sporting event or contest” was being undertaken. Essentially, this would permit online gambling across state lines.
However, this was not the end of the issue and the OLC was asked to revisit the opinion in 2018. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson was a known opponent of online gambling and was responsible for the latest obstacle. When revisiting the topic, Donald Trump’s counsel decided that online gambling did apply under the Wire Act, despite not exclusively being a “sporting event or contest”.
The New Hampshire Lottery Commission refused to accept the decision and then brought the OLC and the DOJ to court. Judge Paul Barbadoro ruled in the US District Court Circuit that the 2018 revision did not apply to all forms of online gambling – just sports. Adelson, however, would not go quietly and the dispute persisted, with both sides presenting their arguments in June 2020. As of January 2021, the DOJ and OLC have lost the case following the Supreme Court’s latest ruling. The DOJ has the option to appeal the decision, but this remains unlikely now that Adelson has died and Trump has left office.