On Friday, May 15, the U.S. federal government indicted 11 people and confiscated the domains of three online gambling companies. It was the biggest and boldest move by the government since the passage of UIGEA in 2006. Now it leaves people wondering if it’s safe to play online blackjack in the U.S.
I didn’t comment on this because the case involves poker, but some blackjack players are worried their online casinos could soon be targeted by the Department of Justice. They might. You never know. But for players, there is nothing to worry about. The poker websites allegedly committed bank fraud and money laundering because they needed to hide the source of their money for it to be processed by the banks. That is because UIGEA bans banks from accepting payments from “unlawful” internet gambling.
The law doesn’t ban online gambling, though. No federal law bans online blackjack. Therefore, unless you live in a state, city or county that has a law banning online gambling, it is completely legal to play blackjack online.
Another thing in your favor is that UGIEA doesn’t target players. Even for gambling that is banned at the federal level – that would be sports betting – the law is only centered on the actions of the financial institutions. The banks have to obey UIGEA, but it says nothing about the behavior of the players. Therefore, even if the Justice Department successfully argued that UIGEA bans online gambling, which they couldn’t, it wouldn’t make any action by players illegal. It would only affect the gambling operators. So that is a small consolation. Blackjack players, you can still play online without fear.