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.
There 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.
US Online Gambling Sites
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
US Gambling Laws by State
Below we have the types of gambling that are available in the United States by state:
|Northern Mariana Island||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|United States Virgin Island||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
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
Gambling was not legal in the US before the 1900s. The 1900s was when it was legalized, and it started booming since then.
Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania allow residents to gamble online.
Each state is allowed to regulate gambling within their state borders.
Yes, you can. However, some states require you to be 21 to gamble.
Internet gambling is only legal at offshore casino sites. You are not allowed to gamble at websites that are based in the country. However, this also depends on which state you are in.
No, in Vegas, you have to be 21 years or older to gamble.