So I Want to Open an Internet Gaming Site

I’ve got the site built, all ready to go, and now I need a license from some government body to operate my site legally, what’s the best place to go?

How does it work, do I get a license from say “Costa Rica”, and then my hosting must be from there as well?

Since my site is literally small change, I can’t really afford one of those places that charge $100,000 flat rate per year, where and how do I go about getting a permit to run my small stakes gaming site?

Any suggestions at least pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


Gaming = Gambling? If it is, you’re in trouble.

First rule: Don’t try to get Americans. Maybe this administration might be better, but there have been several cases where someone operating out of a third country was arrested by the American government for offering on line gambling to Americans. It doesn’t matter where your servers are located. America has 50 different states and each one has their own rules on online gambling. Plus, there are the federal regulations.

For any country you operate out of, you are going to jump through lots of hoops. First of all, you’ll have to show that you’re legitimate. That you have no criminal record and none of your associates have criminal records. You’ll also have to show that you have the means (i.e. money) to actually run such a site and pay any bets that are won. You’ll be jumping through all sorts of legal hurdles, so you’re going have to get a team of lawyers working for you from the start.

Remember too that many of these rules were written to help protect the already existing industry. They aren’t too fond of anyone who wants to make a quick buck opening up their own on line casino. It is very likely that any site you open up will be burdened with legal challenges and you will have the ability to fund your legal defense.

If this is about on line gambling, you’re going to need a lot of costly legal advice. I wouldn’t even begin to know where to start looking.

qazwart pretty much said it all. I saw a piece on 60 Minutes about this, and don’t think 'cause you’re, in your words “small change,” that you’d be safer. You’d be more apt to be caught and prosecuted, because it’s easier to go after the small guys and make a score.

So suppose I built a site where people can play Euchre online and can wager against each other from as little as 5 cents to $1 per game, and I happen to get a license from the Cyprus government, and my server’s are located there as well; you’re saying I could still be in trouble?

I know Congress passed some law several years ago that pretty much puts the kybosh on all “American” gambling sites, hence why people go and get licenses from Costa Rica, Isle of Man, and the like.

So are these people still breaking the law? I’m confused.
My intention isn’t to break any laws, I want to be completely above board and legit.

The entire process seems rather overwhelming.

I was under the impression that owning and operating a gaming site in the USA is illegal, but if you went to a country where it is legal, you wouldn’t be breaking any laws.

There are a few loopholes, but it’s tough and tricky… and requires you to know the gambling laws of every state in the union. Here’s a link to the Wiki page about legality in other countries (and it touches on US legality). This link is a more detailed look at US legality of online gambling. Just Google “online gambling illegal” and you’ll get a bunch of pages like this.

Thanks for the link Serenata, man I feel overwhelmed.