As technology continues to change the way that we navigate through our lives, gaming opportunities are not excluded from the impact of improvements in communication and entertainment. This includes real money online casino games and slot machines that can be played from computers and/or phones. Gamers are no longer limited to having to travel to a brick-and-mortar establishment to find gaming opportunities, and online casinos have taken over a significant share of the gaming market.
While there will always be a place for the hustle and bustle of a crowded casino, many are turning to virtual environments in which they can place their bets more comfortably. When choosing an website to gamble at, having an understanding of the available options is an important component if you want to walk away a winner.
What are Real Money Casinos?
In 2006, new legislation was introduced that severely limited the ability of online casinos for real money to attract and keep U.S. gambling customers. Known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA,) the new law does not expressly forbid online gambling, but places serious limitations on how money can pass between the casinos and those who wish to play games of chance on an online platform.
The UIGEA forbids owners and operators of online gaming sites to accept money transfers from players. This includes payment made through checks, money orders, credit cards and electronic transfers. It does not, however, prohibit the acceptance of funds that are sent via third-party payment processing companies. This, in a way, has provided a “loophole” for U.S. gamblers to lawfully participate.
After the UIGEA was passed, many established casinos began refusing American players altogether. Some publicly traded companies saw considerable drops in stock values within 24 hours of the bill’s transition into law. That said, there are still a number of companies that remain committed to serving American gaming customers.
What About European Online Casinos?
Some American players have opted to take their gambling dollars abroad. There are a wide range of European casinos that are happy to welcome new U.S. players. Just as with American casinos, European gaming companies are subject to the legislation of the country where the business is based. The laws governing online gambling are far from uniform in the region, and some players are dissuaded from participating in international online gaming for fear of running afoul of these regulations.
That said, several European countries have worked to resolve issues concerning online gaming. France, Germany and Belgium all have thriving real money online casino operations based within their borders, and have developed a body of regulation to guide the operation and expansion of such business ventures. The European Union Commission is working to try and create a unified single market for online gaming. This move has been heavily criticized, however, and is not likely to make significant headway in the near future.
Choosing Between Real European and Real USA online casinos
When looking for the best fit, there are several areas in which consumers should compare US and European casinos. One is simply the range and type of games offered. Finding casino options that offer the types of games that an individual enjoys the most is the first order of business.
It is also important to ensure that the casino website is clearly organized, intuitive and user friendly. Spending long stretches of time trying to navigate through a poorly designed website is not conducive to a positive gaming experience.
Next, consumers should evaluate whether the websites that made the initial cut accept one’s desired payment options. In the U.S., payments are accepted through Western Union, MoneyGram, American Express and prepaid MasterCard. These payments are sometimes processed through a third party in order to remain compliant with gaming laws.
In Europe, credit and debit cards are widely accepted as forms of payment. A wide range of eWallet options are also accepted as payment methods, as are wire transfers. Some establishments may also accept checks or money orders.
Finally, prospective gaming customers should evaluate the available options for withdrawing their winnings. In Europe, Paypal is fast becoming the preferred means of both depositing and withdrawing funds for online gambling. In America, Western Union and MoneyGram are the most popular methods for gaining access to online winnings.
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