Current State of US Player Online Casino Gambling
In most countries, it's pretty clear whether online gambling for real money is legal or illegal. That's not currently the case in the US thanks to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA, for short), which made it illegal for banks and payment processors to allow players in the United States to use their services to transfer funds to gambling sites. It's important to note that players won't get in trouble for playing at online casinos, it's just very difficult to get money in and out, and that means many sites won't accept US players.
How the Legal Landscape May Be Changing
There's reason to believe the gray status of real money online gambling in the US may be taking a turn for the better as far as players go. Along with the expansion of physical casinos into many states other than Nevada and New Jersey, those same states have been eying up online gaming money as a potentially large revenue stream that can be regulated and taxed. This would be a huge change as far as the legal landscape, as it could make it legal for companies to actually operate online casinos with servers based in the US, something that has never happened before.
For now, the federal government is sticking with UIGEA, so any change to open up more online gambling in the US is likely to come on a state by state basis. Several states have already formulated legislation to permit real money gaming on an intrastate level, which would mean that players would have to be physically located in the same state where the online casino was operating in order to play there. This is, of course, not ideal for players, but it would still mark an important first step to opening up the US market, and it's not hard to find experts who believe that once that step is taken, unrestricted gaming would not be too far behind.
In the past, it has been the owners of physical casinos who have been at the forefront of efforts to prevent the expansion of online gambling in the US, believing that if it happened, their business would suffer. However, those same companies are now getting behind online gaming, forming partnerships with software firms so they can get a piece of the action if the proper laws are passed. With that in mind, it could be a more a question of when than if US players will have the same freedom to play at online casinos as people in many other countries around the world.