Will You Get Arrested For Gambling Online?

Gambling and online gambling in the United States is not a clear-cut, black and white issue. In fact, the laws and debates surrounding the topic can be quite in depth and complex, especially in today's age with more people jumping on the notion that online gambling in the United States should be completely legalized.

As it stands now, there are federal bans in place against the practice, highlighted by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

But here on this page we are going to discuss the consequences of illegal gambling in the United States. In other words, will you go to jail for gambling online?

The short answer is that it is extremely unlikely for you to go to jail as an online bettor. But then this begs the question as to why you won't? And furthermore, what penalties are you subject to if you are caught breaking the law?

What Is The Safe Gambling Age To Bet Sports

One of the most common acts committed by online gamblers that would be subject to a penalty would be underage gambling online. When a player signs up for an online betting account, they are stating that they are of legal age to do so. This is inherent in the state gambling age that they live in, but in addition, it is part of the terms and conditions when creating an account at a betting site. Typically the legal age in your state is either 18 or 21, and the legal age at these offshore betting sites where USA players can sign up echoes those ages, though more often than not it is 18.

But as a resident in the U.S., you are subject not only to the gambling age under the betting site, but in your state as well. Both ages must be met. Or to think of it different, the highest gambling age of the two must be met.

Those who are caught gambling underage will likely lose their account, and forfeit any and all bets that were made under that account. In addition, the potential for fines is also there. But as far as being arrested or jailed, that is very unlikely to happen.

Now, let's shift gears back to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 that was mentioned at the onset of this page. This is an important law to understand because it paints a specific picture about what is illegal within the framework of the law.

The UIGEA pertains to the way in which businesses like real money gambling sites operate, striking at the manner in which payments for bets can be accepted. In this case, the UIGEA prohibits any business from knowingly accepting any form of a payment for the expressed use of a bet or wager. It does not make online gambling illegal, but it makes the way in which an online gambling site operates illegal.

However, within the text of the law, the UIGEA excludes 'intermediary computers'. In other words, the bettors placing the wagers are ignored under the UIGEA, which still allows for bettors to sign up and gamble at offshore accounts outside of the U.S.

What is most important to know though, is that if you are of the legal age to gamble and choose to do so online at a legal website for online gambling, it is extremely unlikely that you would go to jail for doing so. Placing a bet online is not against the federal law.

At the state level there are new laws being enacted every day, with legislation constantly changing. As a responsible online gambler, it is important that you keep up to date with the latest information as it relates to betting online in your state, to ensure that you act accordingly within the confines of the law. And in states like New Jersey, which is in the process of legalizing online gambling and regulating it, residents will need to follow the latest laws which will likely stipulate sticking to those gambling sites that are regulated by a particular state.

The point is that it's important to be up to speed on the local gambling laws in your state as they relate to online gambling. But at the end of the day, being arrested and receiving jail time for gambling on line is very, very unlikely.