Online betting and casino websites are rising and the moment and people are transferring from traditional physical casinos to a much easier way of gambling. This change made countries all over the world more tolerant of online gambling.
A decade ago, it was impossible to run a successful online gambling business just because there were too many laws and regulations that can shut down the entire operation in minutes.
The change happened a few years ago when countries started to soften their laws and regulations towards online gambling. In fact, many countries made such changes just so they can earn tax revenue from it.
There are still many countries where online gambling is illegal, so we cannot speak generally about this question.
For example, each state in North America has the right to legalize most forms of online gambling, such as sports betting, poker, or casino games. Many states took advantage of this liberty, especially for sports gambling where there are much softer conditions.
On the other hand, some states have gone so far as to include language in their constitution that states that online gambling is illegal.
If we look at online gambling by global standards, United States is one of the countries with the toughest laws and regulations. They’ve put enough effort to draft legislation that discourages players and operators from this activity.
You have to understand that the government can regulate online gambling and can take a closer look at your internet activity.
This doesn’t mean that it is illegal and you can get in trouble.
Countries like Myanmar, Qatar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, and North Korea have strict laws when it comes to online gambling. It is illegal for people and operators to get involved in such business.
Some countries have prison sentences or even death penalty for any sort of gambling, so before engaging in any kind of betting abroad make sure you read online the national and local laws. You don’t want to start an international conflict due to lack of knowledge, do you?
In the US, Washington is the state with the highest restrictions when it comes to online gambling. However, nobody until now is charged for placing online bets. This means that the states are concerned with higher criminal activities than online gamblers.
There was one case where an Oklahoma City police officer was charged for violating the anti-gambling laws, but his case had more unique circumstances. He wasn’t just placing bets on offshore sports betting website. Instead, he was betting on a website that operated a horse racing website for locals.
This lack of charges in Washington doesn’t mean that you should start online gambling. The precedence can be broken and they can suddenly start arresting internet bettors.
The fact is that they are not interested in filling jails with people who placed few bets on online websites. They have more important crimes to worry about. Instead, they focus their energy on investigating unapproved operators.
Politicians are concerned about providing resources for problem bettors. In other words, they want to ensure that the online gambling market remains an entertainment industry, rather than making addicts.
Unfortunately, most offshore bookmakers don’t care about this matter, and their main concern is profits.
Is it Safe to Place Online Bets?
If you live in a state or country where internet gambling is either illegal or not defined as legal (grey area), you cannot be sure that you won’t get in trouble. Statistically speaking, very few people in the world got into legal trouble when it comes to online gambling, but you shouldn’t take that risk.
Even if you live in a country that doesn’t have defined anti-gambling laws, you should be fine just because they cannot charge you for a crime that doesn’t exist.
Most people think that if they place bets on websites from different countries that they cannot be charged from their local state, which is not the case. It doesn’t matter if you choose to gamble on a local provider or an offshore business, you might still get in trouble if your country doesn’t allow online gambling.
What About Horse Racing?
Opposite to other forms of gambling, horse racing has special legislation, especially in the U.S. In fact, betting on horse racing is legal on 41 of the 50 American states. Some of these states don’t have racetracks, but they have off-track betting and they allow online betting as well.
Plus, there are two other states currently voting laws to allow sports betting, including horse racing. These are South Carolina and Georgia, where State Rep. Ron Stephens has introduced the bill at the Capitol in Atlanta this month.
Meanwhile, South Carolina has a bill filed for sports betting, but opposite to Georgia this one is quite vague. It’s likely that the Palmetto State will discuss the betting and online casino legislation throughout this whole year and we may or may not see a resolution before the end of 2024.
Nonetheless, make sure you check your local laws before you jump into the gambling industry like a racehorse running on Kentucky Derby. The gambling scenario is changing in the U.S. but there are still some states where it is either completely illegal or it’s only legal under special circumstances.
The minimum age requirement for horse racing betting also differs from state to state. Most states have either 18 or 21 as minimum age, with Alabama and Alaska being the exception (you must be at least 19 to bet on these states).
Twinspires provides information according to your state, so you should check out their website. For example, if you live in Michigan read here the laws that apply to your state: https://www.twinspires.com/states/michigan
It is safe to say that you most certainly won’t get in trouble, but it is best if you wait a bit longer before the place you live in legalizes online gambling, which will eventually come in the near future.
Remember always to wage responsibly and safely, according to the law of your state and country.