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UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act)
Cheating Online, How safe are Online Casinos?
A variety of regulators exist for online gambling and nearly all widely known gambling sites submit to either a government regulator or a private agency like eCogra. Cheating online is hard, it is far easier to cheat in real-world casinos than it is playing at an online casino. To cheat online requires more technical skills, it is easier to track, and it is much harder to get away with it than cheating in real brick and mortar casinos.
In the real world, cheating can take on a variety of forms. For example, players might use marked cards, pay off dealers, tamper with gambling devices, move bets so they "pay off" in certain table games, stack a game with confederates, and employ other methods to influence the game in their own favor. Most of these tactics are literally impossible to carry out in the virtual world. This does not necessarily mean that online gambling is impeccable and can't be exploited in your favour. There are stratgies that are believed to take advantage of certain flaws in software based gambling.
Online gambling faces challenges common to any growing industry. Internet gambling does, in many cases, imply unique threats and risks that do not apply to "real" world gambling, including computer viruses and adware. But online gambling is not illegal, does not take place in some shady back office, and does not provide a particularly fertile ground for cheating. By all means, those of you who gamble online need to be careful just as those who gamble in real world casinos need to be. All of the watchdog rating agencies do an increasingly effective job of ensuring consumer safety and satisfaction. Those who want to make online gambling safer will do best to review the ways in which government interference in economic activity creates openings for unethical operators, rather than attempt to squash all activity.
Conclusion, is it legal to gamble for US citizens?
US players generated about a half of the revenues of a $12 billion gambling market in 2006, which grows about 20% a year and is estimated to reach $20 billion in 2009.
So, is it legal to gamble for US customers? The answer depends on who you ask. Those who want to stop internet gambling say it's illegal, while others say the law is against those US companies who make financial transactions for the industry, so Americans can play safely with credit cards or non US based electronic payment methods, available to US players. In any case from pure legal point of view Americans can safely gamble online, except for people resident in states that explicitely ban online gambling (see here). That's why there are still online casinos accepting US funds.
Is it true that playing slots, poker, blackjack, roulette is illegal for US residents? Rumor has it that the new bill makes a differentiation, based on the type of games played at an online casino. So for Example, playing slots and poker in New York is fine, but playing blackjack and roulette is not. The bill has nothing to do with this. US residents can play all the casino and poker games. The bill only targets fund transfer mechanisms and companies making financial transactions, which has nothing to do with slots, blackjack or roulette. The only challenge is to find a proper payment method to fund your casino account and to cash in your winnings respectively.