American online gamblers have often wondered how some online casino sites continue to allow them to play. Are they trustworthy? This isn’t always an easy to question to answer because the bottom line is that without regulation in the United States, American players have absolutely no protection or backing when gambling online, which is truly a gamble in itself. Despite this, one online operator has managed to build a positive reputation and US players bet on Bovada.
US Online Gambling Prohibition
The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) hit the industry in and has had a ripple effect ever since. Players in the US were once able to choose whether or not they would gamble online until this law went into effect. Interestingly enough, the law does not prohibit online gambling specifically. In fact, it covers payment options including credit/debit cards, Automated Clearing House (ACH), wire transfers, check collection or any other electronic form of payment. Each of these payment options is prohibited from “knowingly” processing online gambling related transactions. If you can’t deposit then you can’t gamble, right? Wrong.
As players began to notice that their credit card deposits were being declined left and right, a work around was in progress to make it possible. Credit card companies like Visa, for example, required issuers to decline transactions based on the Merchant Category Code (MCC). You see, each merchant is assigned an MCC when they sign up to accept credit card payments. Internet gambling has its own MCC so to “beat the system” voucher purchases became the way to go. A voucher transaction was and is completely different in terms of its code with the credit card companies.
The Federal Wire Act also addresses gambling but is specific to sporting events or contests. It states:
“Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
States have the power to implement online gambling laws within their borders and three states have done so including Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. With that said Americans are still gambling with offshore operators such as Bovada.
You can’t talk about Bovada without bringing up Bodog. US players are redirected to Bovada, which is the site dedicated to this region, as Bodog builds credibility in regulated markets following prior domain seizures. The Bodog brand was established by Canadian Calvin Ayre, who eventually sold the gambling business to Morris Mohawk Gaming Group. The sites are now licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. Despite the sale, Ayre held on to the branding, which he began licensing out in various jurisdictions. The Bodog domain was seized by the US Department of Justice leading a whole slew of legal issues for Calvin Ayre.
Fast forward to the present and each company, Bodog and Bovada, operate separately as individual companies. Although the brands are forever associated they are completely separate. Being owned by an Indian tribe makes Morris Mohawk Gaming Group exempt from tax reporting. As Bodog continues to thrive, the company did not want any association with the US that would further taint its reputation.
Bovada has built a reputation of its own by showing players consistent timely payouts and overall fairness in its terms and conditions. It has become a popular options for the rebellious American punter with a sportsbook, casino, poker room and racebook. The software was once 100 percent Real Time Gaming (RTG) but has since expanded to include BetSoftproducts.
Most recently, one lucky player embarked on a bit of a winning spree at Bovada in September. Alexander D. played three games, At the Copa, Greedy Goblins and Tri Card Poker, all from his mobile device. He first hit a whopping $77,625 jackpot while playing the 3D slot, Greedy Goblins. He then switched over to another BetSoft 3D slot game, At the Copa, where his balance shot up to $105,250. Pushing his luck even further definitely paid off when Alexander’s total winnings exceeded $300,000 after his third stop on Tri Card Poker.
Bovada offers a couple of different Sign-Up Bonuses for new players, which cater to those that prefer slot and those that prefer table games. If you’re an American player that has been skittish about online games, Bovada appeals to just about every facet of online gambling from slots to table games, poker, sports and horses racing. Until your state or the federal government legalizes and regulates online gambling Bovada could be a safe bet.
Following all the controversy over online gambling in the US, other jurisdictions across the globe have taken a stance. Unfortunately for Americans, everyone else seems to be moving a bit faster into the future.