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US Gambling Laws



Gambling is an activity that a lot of people take part in. Hence, there have to be US gambling laws that will govern the activity. As gambling has been around for a long time, laws regulating gambling have seen numerous changes.

US Gambling LawsThere are three gaming regulations in the United States. The gaming regulations will be for the state, local, and federal entities. Gambling laws in the US are liberal, with most states offering some form of gambling. Examples include:

  • 44 states have lotteries
  • About 25 states have tribal casinos

However, when it comes to US online gambling laws, there has been a little progression. If you want to find out more about US gambling laws, whether online or locally, keep reading our guide. We have a look at federal online gambling laws, states where gambling is illegal, and the US gambling industry.

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More Online Casinos

Federal Gambling Laws

Federal laws permit gambling in the United States. However, some restrictions related to online or interstate gambling. But mostly, each state is allowed to regulate or ban gambling within their state borders. Here is a list of the acts that govern gambling in the USA:

  • Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – overturned in 2018, allowing each state to decide on sports betting in their states.
  • Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act – the law relates to operators that accept financial methods to fund accounts.
  • Federal Anti-Lottery Laws
  • Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1970
  • Gambling Ship Act
  • Interstate Transportation of Wagering Paraphernalia Act of 1961
  • Wire Act of 1961
  • Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970
  • Travel Act of 1961
  • Interstate Wagering Amendment of 1994
  • Illegal Money Transmitting Business Act of 1992
  • Amendment of Interstate Horseracing Act
Federal Gambling Laws

US Gambling Laws by State

Below we have the types of gambling that are available in the United States by state:

State Commercial Tribal Lotteries Charity Pari-mutuel Racetrack Sports Betting online
Alabama No Yes No Yes Yes No No No
Alaska No Yes No Yes No No No No
American Samoa No N/A No Yes No No No No
Arizona No Yes yes Yes Yes No No No
Arkansas Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
California No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Colorado Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Connecticut No Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Delaware Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Washington D.C. No N/A Yes Yes No No No Yes
Florida No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Georgia No N/A yes Yes No No No No
Guam No N/A Yes Yes No No No No
Hawaii No N/A No No No No No No
Idaho No Yes yes Yes Yes No No No
Illinois Yes N/A Yes Yes yes Yes Yes Yes
Indiana Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Iowa Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kansas No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Kentucky No N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Louisiana Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes yes No No
Maine Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Maryland Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Massachusetts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Michigan Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Minnesota No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Mississippi Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No
Missouri Yes N/A Yes Yes No No Yes No
Montana No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Nebraska No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Nevada Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
New Hampshire No N/A Yes Yes Yes no Yes Yes
New Jersey Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
New Mexico No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
New York Yes Yes Yes YEs Yes Yes YEs No
North Carolina No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No
North Dakota No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Northern Mariana Island Yes N/A Yes Yes No No No No
Ohio Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Oklahoma No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No NO
Oregon No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Pennsylvania Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Puerto Rico Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
South Carolina No No Yes No No No No No
South Dakota Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Tennessee No N/A No Yes No No Yes No
Texas No Yes Yes Yes Yes Bo No No
Utah No No No No No No NO No
Vermont No N/A Yes Yes Yes No No No
Virginia No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NO
United States Virgin Island Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Washington Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
West Virginia Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wisconsin No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Wyoming No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

 

Gambling Laws in the US

Federal Online Gambling Laws

There is no federal law banning online gambling. Thus, each state determines whether it is banned or not in its borders. Most states’ online gambling laws are very vague, allowing you to gamble online at offshore casinos but not at local sites. But some states have made it explicitly legal.

The federal laws which affect online gambling in the US are:

  • the PASPA Act,
  • the Interstate Wire Act,
  • and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

The PASPA Act was meant to prevent anyone from placing sports bets at land-based or online casinos. However, the Act was revoked in 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey. The result of the judgment was that all states could decide on their sports betting laws.

The Wire Act has many interpretations; however, none of them say clearly whether placing wagers online is legal. Hence, the grey area of gambling online in the country.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prevents financial operators from allowing players to fund their online casino account. However, it does not mention whether the act is legal or illegal.

States Where Gambling is Illegal

There are only two states that do not allow any gambling at all: Hawaii and Utah. Other states allow some gambling, whether it be one specific kind or more. Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, and Alaska don’t offer lottery games. 22 states don’t have any land-based casinos but offer pari-mutuel and lottery betting.

Gambling Laws in the US: FAQs

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