When online gambling was first conceived, it looked like an end run around government control and prohibition. All a business needed to do was set up shop in a friendly offshore jurisdiction and start taking wagers from anyone with a computer and a credit card. In response, federal and state lawmakers began to consider regulating the activity.
New Jersey was the first to take action, launching legal iGaming in 2013. The Garden State also negotiated a deal with its tribal partners to license and operate the online casino sites. Unlike most US states, the online gambling industry in NJ is highly regulated. This includes a minimum age of 21, a cooling off period, and limits on maximum bets.
West Virginia took a bit longer to get its iGaming sites up and running, but it did happen. Each of the state’s five brick-and-mortar casinos is able to host up to three iGaming skins, so there will be plenty of options for players. The Mountain State’s online casino sites feature a wide range of games, including video poker. Players can play for stakes as low as a dollar, though the number of tables that accept such small bets will be limited.
As with other regulated activities, operators in the online casino industry are required to be fair and transparent. This is largely accomplished through the use of third-party auditors. The best online casinos are certified by independent auditing companies to ensure they’re following the rules and providing a safe environment for their customers. These auditors also regularly publish their results, so gamblers can track the performance of the websites they play on.
In order to protect consumers, most regulated online casinos have self-exclusion programs. This allows gamblers to bar themselves from certain types of gambling sites if they develop problems. While these programs aren’t foolproof, they can help reduce the risk of problem gambling.
While federal law makes it illegal for Americans to place bets on Internet gambling sites, many states have opted not to prosecute such bettors. Some have cited the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine, which holds that federal laws don’t apply to commerce outside a state’s borders. However, the Justice Department has argued that the Wire Act prohibits all Internet gambling.
As a result, some state-licensed casinos have started to offer bonus packages for new and returning players. These can include free spins, deposit bonuses, and additional casino play. This is in addition to the benefits of playing on a licensed website that’s secure and compliant with local gambling regulations. However, it’s still a good idea to check the laws in your area before placing bets. The rules change all the time, so it’s important to keep yourself updated. You can also contact a responsible gambling helpline to speak with a trained counselor about your addiction.