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USA Gambling Laws

In the United States, gambling is regulated at the federal, state or tribal, and local levels. States are the primary regulators, defining the scope of permissible and prohibited activities, enforcing criminal gambling prohibitions, and licensing legal gambling operators. The federal government primarily assists in enforcing state laws and prosecuting statewide enterprises, with the notable exception of the federal ban on sports betting.

Despite a high-profile legal decision by the United States government, legal online casinos for real money are still available to players in the US. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was enacted in 2006, but nothing capitalized thereafter. Despite popular belief, wagering real money on online slots or blackjack is actually legal for US gamblers.

Gambling in some form has gained mainstream acceptance in almost every state, with gambling currently legal in 48 states. The types of gambling allowed by the states vary greatly. Some states only allow state-sponsored lotteries, whereas others allow horseracing, casinos, and sports betting.

Is it legal to Gamble Online in Every State?

US Online Casinos

Gambling laws vary considerably between states. Gambling is generally not allowed unless the state passes a law expressly authorizing it. Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, and West Virginia are the only states that accept and license online gambling (poker or casino).  The remaining 43 states and the District of Columbia prohibit online non-sports gambling, with the exception of some forms of online lottery in a few cases, though many allow gambling in brick-and-mortar establishments or on riverboats.

Only the Delaware Lottery Commission is authorized to conduct internet gambling in the state. Connecticut legalized retail and online gambling in 2021. Licenses are only available to brick-and-mortar casinos in the other five states mentioned above. Nevada, unlike the others, only allows internet poker.

Online lottery ticket sales are permitted in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, while online game play is permitted in Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and North Dakota.

Note: Keep in mind that laws, as well as how they are enforced, are subject to change. That is, if you require legitimate legal counsel, you should seek it from appropriate sources.

Find gambling laws by state

Gambling regulations in the US are state-specific which means they’re always different depending on the state you are playing in. Many US-based gambling enthusiasts have access to commercial and tribal casinos, horse racing tracks, and state-run lotteries. For US online casinos, the popular games are video slots, jackpots, poker, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and bingo. Some online gambling sites even offer versions of table games that are streamed in real-time with a live dealer. With that being said, US laws focus on punishing any illegal gambling platform offering any of these games and players usually get away scot-free.

 

 

States Where Sports Betting is Legal

Individual states can now legalize and regulate sports betting as they see fit. This is a relatively new development, as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) had previously prohibited all but four states from legalizing sports betting. Only Nevada had a complete exemption that allowed true, single-game sports betting.

Delaware and Oregon also received limited exemptions for parlay-style “sports lotteries.” Montana allowed non-profit sports betting squares. Aside from that, no state was permitted to allow any form of sports betting.

All of that changed in May 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional and repealed it entirely. However, the repeal of PASPA did not necessarily legalize sports betting across the country. To reintroduce sports betting, each state must change its own laws.

A large number of states have introduced legislation to legalize and regulate sports betting. To date, the following states have passed legislation and either have sportsbooks in operation or will do so soon.

 

Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut Delaware
Florida Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas
Louisiana Maine Maryland Michigan Montana
Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico
New York North Carolina Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island
South Dakota Tennessee Virginia Washington Washington
Washington DC West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Gambling Ofshore

While the US is gradually modernizing its online gambling laws, most states still do not have online casinos. However, this does not prevent you from playing your favorite games at the best offshore casinos available to US players.  You can play slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, and other games at such casinos. RealOnlineGambling.com has made is easy for you, we have compiled a list of the best online casinos accessible to US players.

Are offshore sites legal?

Since the dawn of the Internet, offshore casinos have catered for US gamblers. They’re extremely popular and are still used in states that have recently allowed local online casinos to be established.

There are no existing federal laws in the US that makes gambling online illegal.  They are not regulated by any state’s gaming commission or the federal government. Most states have laws that prohibit unauthorized casinos, even if those casinos play by the same rules as physical casinos in the state.

The truth is that offshore casino gambling enforcement has always been lax. This appears unlikely to change, especially as US-based online casinos begin to start entering the industry.

Resources:

Dayanim, B., Miller, R., Gordon, J. and Miller, L., 2022. Overview of US Federal Gaming Law. [online] Lexology. Available at: <https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=d5a3f46a-4d09-4854-9c44-43beef09076a> [Accessed 8 August 2022].

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