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Online casino gaming kept gaining popularity in the last twenty years. While there are several ways you can play at an online casino, the basic idea is the same. You would deposit funds from your card, bitcoin, or any other service a web casino supports. After that, you’ll proceed to enjoy your favorite games. Almost every casino offers slots, poker, blackjack, and roulette.
Now, the main problem is the legality of gambling. Each country in the world has a different take on gambling in general. Furthermore, when it comes to online gambling, things can only get more complicated. Here, we will talk about online casinos and gambling but focus more on the specific game that is played on these websites — blackjack.
Blackjack is a card game that has roots in games like Twenty-One. While the versions of the game originated in Europe (as early as the 16th century), it wasn’t until the game reached the U.S. that blackjack name was mentioned.
To motivate players, houses offered an incredible 10 to 1 payout if the hand consisting of the Ace of Spades and either the Jack of Spades or Jack of Clubs, or Black Jacks.
Legality in the US
When it comes to gambling in the U.S., things can get really complicated. Gambling, in general, is restricted in the U.S. However, there is no federal law against online gambling in the country. So the next thing we need to check is each of the state laws. Some states might allow online casinos; others won’t allow them but won’t punish the players, and there are those where online gambling is strictly forbidden. For example, roulette is one of the most popular casino games, but it is still illegal in Florida, and the only place where you could play roulette is in tribal casinos. Furthermore, there are several states in the U.S. without a single land-based casino.
Even though individual laws can vary a lot, there is one thing they have in common — online casinos located in the U.S. are illegal.
Since 1995, when online gambling started to grow, casinos located in the U.S. had to move because of the state laws. To avoid any possible legal troubles, it is much safer to move to the Caribbean, Latin America, Australia, or Europe.
Due to the complexity of each individual state law, it is safe to play any games as long as the website is not located in the U.S. since there is no federal law against online gambling. However, there is a chance that the player might do something against the state law, so it is always a good idea to read the fine print before you proceed to playing online casino games.
Finally, almost every online casino that is located outside of the U.S. will accept the U.S. players for casino games and poker. Besides, the UIGEA, or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, from 2006 is directed at companies and providers enabling online gambling and not directed at players.
Let’s take a look at the state laws regarding blackjack specifically and online gambling in general.
Almost no state law in the U.S. mentions online gambling. While many might assume that it means that this form of gambling is legal everywhere, the truth is in between. However, there are nine states that strictly forbid any form of online blackjack.
These states are Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Louisiana, Washington, and Wisconsin. It is worth mentioning that even though online gambling is directly mentioned and marked as illegal, it is still targeted towards websites and not players.
Since it was made illegal to bet online, there had been less than thirty cases of people being prosecuted for online gambling. Besides, almost every one of those people were bookies, who also took sports bets by telephone. So far, there has only been a single case of a regular player being charged for online gambling, and he had to pay a $500 fine.
Now that we’ve mentioned illegal parts of the country, there are three states where they explicitly made online gambling and blackjack legal. These states are Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. What is interesting is that the home state of Las Vegas made only online poker legal, and all other forms of online gambling are illegal in the state.
Finally, while the UIGEA doesn’t regulate gambling itself (and it is not targeted towards players), it does forbid processing payments made from gambling. This is one of the main problems for the U.S. players. Even though they are basically allowed to play online blackjack, there might be some issues when it comes to deposits and withdrawals.
For example, using Bitcoin as your deposit method will make everything work perfectly well. However, the casinos that accept PayPal as a deposit method are rare. While most casinos accept cards like Visa or Mastercard, it became hard over the years for the funds to go through. Furthermore, this applies to transfers both in and out of a casino. Basically, it is illegal for processors to process funds regarding illegal gambling rather than players to order money transfers.
When it comes to the rules of blackjack, the U.S. version is rather similar to the games played in the rest of the world. However, there are certain rules that may apply to a certain casino only.
The basic rules are simple. The player will have to try to win against the dealer. In blackjack, players will be competing against the house instead of playing against each other like in poker. The person that gets the closest to twenty-one, without going over, will win. The payouts are 1:1 for regular games, while getting a two-cards blackjack will get you 3:2 or 6:5 depending on the casino. You will be able to play some form of blackjack in almost every online casino.
Furthermore, there are casinos that offer additional payments for getting a certain combination of cards, but that will depend on the casino itself. One of the best payouts is 100:1 for getting three same cards with the same suit, three Queens of Heart, for example.
Playing Blackjack in Online Casino
Most of the casinos have several options when it comes to playing. Not only will you have different variations of blackjack, but you will also have the option of choosing how you’ll play the games. There are flash-based casinos, apps that you can download on your PC, and even mobile versions where you can download the app and play blackjack for real money with no deposit on your smartphone.
Live Dealer Blackjack
Since every blackjack game relies on RNG or Random Number Generator, people often avoid playing such games. Luckily, there are live dealer games where you can play against a real dealer. You will have controls on the screen where you can select your next move like hit, split, stand, and double. Some casinos offer a surrender option as well where you can retrieve half of the invested money.
In addition, there is usually a chat option where you could talk to other players and comment on anything in the game. Unfortunately, the legality of live blackjack for real money is not the same in every state, and not every casino will offer this type of game.
We will have to wait until online blackjack for real money becomes legal in the USA and not just in several states. There are so many proposed bills that might legalize online gambling, but the process is slow, and each of the states is walking their own path towards legalization.
West Virginia is one of the states that made partial legalization, and it is expected that it will become the fifth state to legalize online gambling fully.
Finally, it might be the best idea to check your state laws before you start playing blackjack online. The last thing you’d want to happen is to lose all of your money or to be unable to withdraw your winnings. Probably the best option would be to study both laws and fine prints on the website to ensure that your visit to an online casino will bring you nothing but pleasure.