Blackjack is an interesting and rewarding game that players shouldn’t hesitate to play at an online casino. However, with the complex and confusing laws surrounding online gambling in the United States, one must be sure that playing internet blackjack is not against the law.
The legalization of online gambling, generally in the United States, lies with the federal and independent state authorities. States have different approaches to online gambling, with some supporting it and others banning it entirely. However, on the national scene, online gambling is not favorably considered.
Two popular federal acts made it seem like online blackjack is prohibited; the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Federal Wire Act. Learn more about legal online blackjack at legitimatecasino.com
How do these laws relate to online blackjack? Is online blackjack legal? Can you play blackjack online for money in the United States? The article provides answers to these questions and offers information about other essential things you need to know about playing online blackjack in the US.
Is online blackjack legal in the USA?
The straightforward answer is that yes, playing any variation of blackjack online is legal in the United States. This is because there are no laws restricting US residents from playing blackjack at an internet casino. As a matter of fact, none of the gambling laws in the United States addresses the player.
You may point to the UIGEA and the Federal Wire Act, but these laws do not prohibit you from gambling online. Rather, they restrict online casino operators from operating within the boundaries of the United States.
According to the UIGEA act, businesses are prohibited from “knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.” In no part of the act was the player targeted.
Initially, the Federal Wire Act of 1961 was created to prohibit any form of internet gambling. However, in 2011, the Department of Justice rescinded its decision and stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting and does not cover online casino gambling.
Even states where online gambling is prohibited only focuses on casino sites and not the gambler. This means you can decide to play blackjack at websites based in New Jersey, Delaware, or even international casinos, and you won’t be doing anything illegal.
The only way these laws affect you as a US player is that you might not easily deposit and withdraw funds from casinos online. However, you can transact using ACH, debit cards, checks, and most especially cryptocurrency.
Traditional Rules in the US versus Other Countries
The main rules of playing blackjack in the United States are similar to what exists in other places like Europe and Canada. For instance:
- The goal is to get 21 before the dealer without going bust.
- Face cards are worth 10. Aces are worth 1 or 11
- Players start with two cards.
- The dealer has a face-down card till the end of the game.
- A hand above 21 is a “bust.”
- A player hits blackjack if dealt 21 (Ace &10) at the beginning of the round.
- Players would also be able to Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split and Surrender.
However, you will find several differences in how blackjack is played in the United States and other countries. The differences can be seen in the number of decks, additional rules that involve splitting and doubling down, and whether the dealer peeks, stands, or hits on soft 17.
Although American blackjack rules changes across casinos and game variations, most casinos operating in legalized jurisdictions in the US follow this set of rules:
- They play with six or eight decks of cards
- Natural blackjack pays 3:2 or 6:5
- Hole card rule allows the dealer to check face-down card for blackjack
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- A player can double down on any hand total
- The player can split hands up to three times
- Double down after split is allowed
- Aces can only split once
- 10-value cards can be split once (even if different)
- Late surrender is allowed at some Atlantic casinos.
However, at most land-based or online casinos in European countries, no form of surrender is allowed, and there is no hole card. Two decks of cards are the norm, while blackjack payout is mainly 3:2. Players can also double down on a total hand of 9, 10, or 11.
Online Blackjack for United States Players
Regardless of the federal or state laws, United States gamblers have many options when it comes to playing blackjack online.
You will find several best online blackjack USA sites in states where online gambling is allowed, such as New Jersey and Nevada. At these websites, you will be able to play online blackjack for real money and win big.
Several international or offshore casino sites allow bets from United States players. Some of the most popular Us blackjack online variations available at these casinos include Vegas Strip Blackjack, Vegas Downtown, Blackjack Switch, Multi-Hand Blackjack, and Atlantic City Blackjack.
United States residents that desire a more realistic experience playing online blackjack from home would find Live blackjack appealing. It affords them the chance to play against real dealers in real-time and also chat with other players at the table.
Are There any State Laws that Explicitly Allow Online Blackjack?
Three states in the US have explicitly passed laws legalizing and allowing online gambling in their jurisdictions. They are; Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Nevada, which is a recent addition to the list, only allowed online poker.
In these states, online casinos are allowed to operate as long as they have the required licenses and meet other basic requirements set by the individual states. Like the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the gaming boards of each state oversee the licensing of new casinos. They also act as a watchdog by ensuring that the casino sites under their watch uphold fair play.
However, bear in mind that you can’t wager across state lines. You have to be physically within each state’s borders to place bets and play games at casinos based in the states. For instance, if you want to play blackjack at a Pennsylvania gaming site, you have to be located in the state.
You won’t be able to place bets even if you are in states bordering Pennsylvania like West Virginia, Delaware, or New York; you have to be within Pennsylvania to play at a PA online casino.
You must also be at least 21 years old to play across all online casinos located in each state.
States Where Online Blackjack is Technically Illegal
Online blackjack real money USA and internet gambling on a wider scale are prohibited in nine states which are;
- South Dakota
It is important to note that the main target of the prohibitions is not the gambler but rather online casinos. So, if you are a player in any of these states, you can rest assured that you aren’t engaging in an illegal activity when you play online blackjack at international casinos.
Online blackjack is not illegal in the United States. Although we have some federal and state laws restricting online gambling, the laws mainly focus on online casino operators and not the gambler.
You may not be able to start an online casino business in most states in the US, but regardless of where you are, you can play blackjack online. If you reside within New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, you will find different sites in each jurisdiction offering real money blackjack.
However, If you are not physically present in the three states mentioned, you can place bets and still enjoy a game of blackjack at several international sites.