Home » Online gambling in the USA

Online gambling in the USA

The laws regarding sports betting and gambling vary from state to state in the USA. While in most of the states, gambling and sports betting is completely legal, there are some states which still shy away from gambling legalization. To put it in simple terms, as per Wire Act of 1961 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, one or the other form of intrastate gambling, betting or lottery is legal in 48 of the 50 U.S. States with the exception of Utah and Hawaii.

Online Gambling In The USA

Although some form of gambling is allowed in the states, the form of gambling and the rules and regulations for the intrastate gambling is decided by the State rather than Federal Government. These laws are modified over time in different states as per their policies.

Online casino betting became popular in the mid-1990’s, and the business has been booming from that point forward. The current legitimate online betting atmosphere varies from nation to nation. In the United States, it can significantly vary from state to state while nations outside of the US, lawful online casino betting is pervasive and invited. Yet, in the United States, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are the main three states which have embraced user-friendly and legitimate state-based online betting enactment for their occupants and guests. A few states are advancing without any infringement or involvement from other states, with California anticipated to be the state to venture up to the plate.

There are still some roadblocks which become an integral factor, however, United States residents without state-supported US Internet gambling casinos can at present legally appreciate the online form of the physical Las Vegas encounter by playing at honest to goodness and legitimately authorized offshore clubs. At the point when an Internet gambling club is headquartered and worked outside of US limits, that makes for a legitimate ordeal for US players. Online casinos wagering legally is, in any case, an every now and again changing the picture as we’ve seen through the state authorized online betting businesses rising.

History of Gambling in the U.S.A.

Gambling or the game of chance came to America with the British colonies. At that time, people’s attitude towards gambling can vary from place to place and community to community but there were no legal restrictions of the practice. At first, it was limited to lotteries, which was often used to raise funds and charity for the community.

First Wave

With time, Gambling business started to gradually develop in various communities. The lower Mississippi River Valley was the main spot for gamblers with New Orleans becoming the gambling hub of America.

In the mid-19th century, anti-gambling forces completed eradicated the lotteries and other gambling activities from these locations which also affected other parts of the U.S. The gambling activities were restricted to the boats in the Mississippi River. But with the rise of railways in those parts, boats were used less and less, ultimately causing a downfall of Mississippi boat casinos.

The Government of U.S. started to put pressure on gambling and it was the first time gambling practices were continued underground as a completely illegal activity.

Second Wave

After New Orleans, gambling hub moved to California. By 1850s, California was the center of gambling in the U.S. It has overtaken New Orleans as the gambling capital. Then came the Reconstruction Era, which saw the restatement of lotteries and other forms of gambling activities. Gambling started to become popular in western cities like Deadwood, Kansas City and Denver during the settlement of the west.

Gamblers were seen as respected citizens contributing to the upliftment of the society in their own way. It was seen as an honest trade but it also gave rise to several criminal activities. Mafia and organized crime started to grow under illegal gambling centers.

By the start of 20th century, U.S Government nearly branded every gambling activity as illegal due to increase in organized crime and growth of Mafia in the shadows.

Prohibition Era and The Great Depression

The Prohibition Era in the U.S. saw a ban on production, import, and sale of any kind of alcoholic beverages. From 1920 to 1933, any kind of production or sale of alcohol was considered illegal. But Alcohol production didn’t stop and it continues to generate revenue for the mob and mafia. The cities like Miami were now the hotbed for organized crime and illegal gambling dens.

The Gambling and illegal liquor were attracting tourist from all across the country. Then came, The Great Depression, the period in which the U.S. economy got a big hit. It saw the legalization of some form of gambling activities to allow churches and other shelter groups to raise money. Bingo and some other gambling activities were made legal but most of the gambling still remained illegal.

Many gangsters and mob leaders become wealthy using their underground casinos. It was all about the illegal liquor and gambling which intrigued the interest of people. With continuous legal pressure increasing in many U.S States, the mob leaders and gangsters were forced to move from a major city like New York to more tolerant cities like Texas and California.

After a while, the economic conditions were so severe that the government started to slowly legalize all the gambling activities. In 1931, after Assembly Bill 98 was passed in Nevada, gambling activities were used to provide an economic relief as it provided an alternative source of revenue for the state.

The inception of the Gambling City of Las Vegas

After World War II, the requirement of betting laws turned out to be more strict in many spots and the desert town of Las Vegas turned into an alluring focus for the venture by organized crime heads and mob bosses, for example, New York’s Bugsy Siegel. The town quickly created amid the 1950s damning some unlawful betting hub, for example, Galveston, Nevada, and Las Vegas specifically, turned into the focal point of betting in the U.S. In the 1960s Howard Hughes and other honest financial specialists obtained a considerable lot of the most essential lodgings and gambling clubs in the city slowly reducing the city’s associations with organized crime.

And then came the famous Atlantic City

The gambling business was booming and with time new form of gambling start to stir off the pot. Slot machines, which were being operated legally during the 1940’s started to become quite popular. In 1977, Atlantic City became the new go-to place for the gamblers. The state of New Jersey stated to generate good revenue as the legalization of gambling attracted significant tourists from across the country.

In the 1990s, riverboat betting clubs were legitimized in Louisiana and Illinois notwithstanding other states. In 1996, Michigan sanctioned betting in the city of Detroit making a financial community for potential clubhouse development. While trying to check the evil impacts of the quick ascent in betting on brandishing occasions, the Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

In the mid-21st century, Internet betting developed quickly in prominence worldwide, yet interstate and universal exchanges stayed illicit under the Federal Wire Act of 1961, with extra punishments included by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The Supreme Court toppled the 1992 disallowance against sports betting in 2018 making ready for authorization of one the most popular variant of gambling.

Gambling Laws in different U.S. States

There are 50 states in the US out of which 30 have legalized gambling. Nevada is the front-runner for having the most casinos but some other states like Oklahoma have a lot of Native American casinos. Over the past two decades, many things have changed to the point where more and more states have legalized land and Internet casino gambling to bring in more tax revenue to their state.

Native Americans have always had their rights to put land casino gambling palaces like Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods,  there has become more commercial (privately & publically owned) casino betting parlors in the past 20 years. However, the government does not get any of their tax revenue.

In the year 1996, there were only 6 states that had commercial land casinos. This number has risen till the year 2016 due to the legalization of gambling in many states. But today there are 30 states that offer legalized gambling of any kind (commercial or tribal) and eighteen states that have commercial casinos.

Minimum Legal Gambling Age by State

The legal age for gambling varies throughout the US, with states setting the minimums at either 18 or 21. This can change according to the type of gambling, as well as if you’re playing in a Native American casino.

The table below clears up all the uncertainty, with each state’s legal ages clearly listed.

•    Alabama                             – 21 years

•    Alaska                               – 18 years

•    Arizona                              – 21 years

•    Arkansas                           – 18 years for pari-mutuel wagering   –  21 years for slots

•    California                           – 18 years at some casinos     – 21 years at others

•    Colorado                            – 21 years

•    Connecticut                       – 18 years for bingo  – 21 years for casino games

•    Delaware                           – 18 years for horse racing  – 21 years for slots

•    Florida                               – 18 years for bingo, poker, and pari-mutuel     –  21 years for slots

•    Idaho                                 – 18 years

•    Illinois                               – 21 years

•    Indiana                             – 18 years for pari-mutuels  –  21 years for gambling

•    Iowa                                – 21 years

•    Kansas                             – 21 years

•    Louisiana                         – 18 years for pari-mutuels    – 21 years for gambling

•    Maine                              – 18 years for pari-mutuels       – 21 years for slots

•    Maryland                         – 18 years for pari-mutuels    – 21 years for casinos

•    Michigan                         – 21 years

•    Minnesota                       – 18 years

•    Mississippi                      – 21 years

•    Missouri                          – 21 years

•    Nevada                           – 21 years

•    New Jersey                      – 21 years

•    New Mexico                    – 18 years for bingo and pari-mutuels  – 21 years for casinos

•    New York                        – 18 or 21 years (depends on the casinos)

•    North Carolina                 – 21 years

•    Ohio                                 -18 years for pari-mutuel   – 21 years for casinos

•    Oklahoma                        – 18 or 21 years (depends on the casino)

•    Oregon                             -18 years for bingo – 21 years for casino

•    Pennsylvania                    – 18 years for pari-mutuel  – 21 years for casinos

•    South Dakota                   – 18 years for bingo at Indian casinos   – 21 years for casinos

•    Texas                                – 21 years

•    Washington                      – 18 years for pari-mutuel         – 18 or 21 years for casino

•    West Virginia                   – 21 years

•    Wisconsin                        – 18 years for bingo    –  21 years for casinos

•    Wyoming                          – 18 years

States that allow gambling for 18-year-olds are:

•    Alaska

•    Idaho

•    Minnesota

•    Wyoming

States that allow some forms of gambling for 18-year-olds (usually pari-mutuel and bingo) are:

•    Arkansas

•    California

•    Connecticut

•    Delaware

•    Florida

•    Indiana

•    Louisiana

•    Maine

•    Maryland

•    New Mexico

•    New York

•    Ohio

•    Oklahoma

•    Oregon

•    Pennsylvania

•    South Dakota

•    Washington

•    WisconsinA

Gambling Laws in the State Of Alabama

Alabama has been through religious elements and progressives clash over the subject of gambling for many years. The constitution of this state has a very wide range of gambling but there are few exemptions. There are some penalties too which gets harsh on Sundays. This page covers Alabama gambling laws in depth.

What Are Forms Of Gambling Currently Legal at Alabama?

Below is the list of different gambling format with a short note whether it is legal at Alabama or not:

Casino Games: No, there are tribal casinos. Casino table games are not legal under the Alabama law. Crossing the Mississippi to gamble in their casinos where these games are freely available is very popular.

Online Casinos:  Casino gambling is banned and those laws are assumed to cover the internet too, still there are no laws relating to the online component

Live Poker: No, the law of this state does not differentiate between poker and other table games like Blackjack. You can play home-games in which no profit is gained by any of them.

Online Poker: No, there is no specific law banning online poker. Any game with some element of chance of winning is considered gambling.

Sports Betting: Yes, betting on greyhound racing and horse racing is legal at several tracks in Alabama.

Lottery Betting: No, there is no State lottery betting in Alabama, and this State does not participate in any national schemes.

Bingo: Yes, bingo is a game which is currently available at Indian Casinos, though there are various battles going on related to this topic. Bingo and raffle games are also legal under charitable gambling laws which require strict license and conditions.

What Are Forms Of Gambling Currently Legal In Alaska?

In this section, there will be a quick run-through of the formats of gambling, and a short note on whether gambling is legal or not.

Casino Games: No, the casinos do not have a legalized license, and even the few tribal/native establishments are restricted to bingo and ‘pull tab’ games. Residents enjoy cruises which offer casino gambling while in international waters or off of the coast of Canada.

Online Casinos: No, online casinos are not legal because it is not covered by their laws. No record of enforcement actions against online gamblers is seen anywhere.

Live Poker: No, there are no poker rooms or regulated live poker games in this state. Home poker games are permitted with a condition that none of the family members should get a profit.

Online Poker: No, there are no regulated online poker games in Alaska. This State is not seen as a candidate for future regulated online poker.

Sports Betting: No, there are no places for sports betting in Alaska. Their charity gambling legislation does allow some quasi-sports gambling opportunities.

Lottery Betting: No, there is no State lottery system and it does not participate in any intra-State scheme.

Bingo Halls: Yes, there are a few bingo halls which are run by native groups or charitable organizations under the restrictive charity gambling laws.

Legal Poker & Betting in Arizona

Arizona was once a part of Mexico, and provide shelter to 22 separate tribes. The population of this State has boomed in the years after the WW2 has ended. When a Federal bill gave the tribes more rights to regulate casinos on their land in 1988, everything kicked off.

Arizona Gambling Laws

What Formats Of Gambling Are Currently Legal?

In this section, there will be a quick run-through on the formats of gambling and which of them are legalize.

Casino Games: Yes, these are legalized over here and have a great business. You can easily find different slots, table games, and poker at different lavish casino resorts.

Online Casinos: No, they are not legal in this state as it is not mentioned in the laws. According to the main state code, it is illegal. There are no regulated in-State sites or any current plans to license them.

Live Poker: Yes, player-v/s-player poker can be found at Indian casinos and they are legal. Social poker games are allowed without the use of any kind of winning amount. These are shut down on occasion. Home games are also legal.

Online Poker: No, there is no place for online poker, the law does not mention online gaming anywhere so it is not legal over here. This topic is raised on the discussions that online poker should be legalized or not.

Sports Betting: Yes, you can bet on horse racing and greyhounds while on track or other licensed locations. The racing tracks use the pari-mutuel (pooled) model and do offer simulcast races.

Lottery Betting: Yes, Arizona has a state lottery system which is legal over there, this includes different types of draws and games.

Bingo Games: Yes, you can enjoy bingo here and it is legalized with a license.

Legal California Gambling & Poker Laws

California has a history of gambling since the time of Gold Rush which was started in the 1840s. Today games like horse racing, tribal casinos, poker rooms and lottery games are seen all over California. California is looking to the future, they allow betting on horse races over the internet and regulates online poker rooms too.

Below is a run through of the different gambling formats, along with a note on the legality of each. After that more details about each format with a short note either they are legal or not.

California Gambling Laws

Overview of Different Gambling Games

Casino Games: Yes, there are a number of choice of casinos to choose from which offers slots and table games. Roulette and craps games are not allowed over here and ball and dice games have specific bans.

Online Casino Gambling: No, there is no place for online casino gambling. This could be added to the bill that regulates poker.

Live Poker: Yes, there are a huge number of card rooms, these are also known as ‘California Casinos’. Live poker games are very famous in this state for many years. And home poker games are considered to be legal as no individual is making any profit.

Online Poker: No, currently there are no regulated poker sites in California. Various bills have been introduced for the legalization of online poker as this state has a population of more than 38,000,000 people which is enough to support a thriving poker economy of its own.

Sports Betting: Yes, sports betting is allowed but only on Horse races, also the on-track betting is allowed from more than 100 permitted outlets and more recently online too.

Lottery Betting: Yes, this business is a huge spread business over California, it is having more than 21,000 lottery outlets. A number of regular draws and scratch cards are performed.

Bingo Games: Yes, the business of bingo halls are big business throughout California, the charity gambling statutes provide the license to them and regulate them.

Variants or Types of Gambling which will decide its future

There are various types of gambling activities which generate large revenue and are expected to flourish in the future. Various states are expected to pass the bill for expanding lottery, online bets and sports bets. Seven major gambling activities which will play a major role in the expansion of the trade in future are:

  • Online Gambling
  • Online Lottery
  • Daily Fantasy Sports
  • Social Casino
  • Online Skill Gambling
  • Online Horse Betting
  • Sports Betting

Newest Development in the U.S. Laws on Sports Betting

On May 14th, 2018, United States Government paved the path to legalize gambling throughout the country. Although the path is clear for gambling to be legal all through the United States, it will still take years to pass necessary bills to get it running through the states.

Federal Laws that restricted sports gambling in the U.S. is struck down by the Supreme Court making betting on sports like football, basketball, baseball and other sports legal in maximum states. This aw gave a green light to the state to make all the bets legal. According to recent estimations, within 5 years, people of 32 states will be able to place online bets and wager the results of a single game.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decided whether it is consistent with the constitution. Paspa is not,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

The case which made it possible to get to this result was initiated by the state of New Jersey. The state of New Jersey had the support of more than a dozen states. The case presented was that based on the argument that the Congress exceeded the authority when it passed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The case was heavily contested by four major U.S. Professional Sports Leagues. They wanted the government to uphold the established federal laws. They presented a case stating that the new laws will compromise the integrity of the game. But it was found that most of these companies already involved in some form of sports gambling. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150bn on sports each year.

The laws implemented in 1992 prohibited sports gambling in all the U.S. States. Although, some form of gambling activities continued in Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware as these states have already approved some form of sports betting before the law was implemented.

Currently, there is a lot of misconception regarding the legal status of the online casinos all across the United States. To be very precise, there is nothing illegal about playing in online casinos in the United States. The law only applies to the ownership of any online casinos or any establishment related to gambling. That is the reason why most of the online casinos and gambling sites are located outside of the U.S. borders.

Inside the U.S. however, three states which include New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have provided their citizens with state licensed and authorized online casinos. But is restricted to the residents of these states and people from outside these states will need to visit an online casino located outside the U.S. borders to participate.

Games and Competitions in which you can take part in U.S online casinos

Apart from sports betting, people can also participate in a large number of games as per their interest or expertise. With the help of latest advancements in technology, the experience is more real than ever. The cutting-edge graphics, user-friendly interface, and 3-d technology have made the experience more life-like.

You can experience a real trip to Vegas like Casinos with amazing video and animations of games like Poker, Blackjack, slots, Roulette, Baccarat, and whatnot. 

How to choose an online casino to play at?

People might have different perception about the online casinos depending on their experience with one. But there are hundreds of online casinos out there and it is very important to choose the right one to play at. There are various factors which determine whether or not to play at a particular online casino.

Let’s take an in-depth analysis of the particular elements that will rule out the untrustworthy brands:


It is very important to check the legal stature of the online casino before you decide to play there. A legally authorized online casino will have nothing to hide and will definitely let you check all the legal documentation. If the casino holds legal licensing and it is regulated by a legitimate and legal authority. Legal status of the casino is the first thing you should check for before joining the games and putting in your money. If the casino can’t show you any documentation validating their compliance with the government regulations don’t waste your time and money taking the risk to play there.


Like real casinos, an online casino must have an effective security system to protect the clients from any kind of foul play. You must check for the presence of a data encryption system guarding your personal data and any kind of online presence from the third party. Also, some kind of fraud protection system must be in place to protect any fraud or foul play by the casino, other players or any third party. Apart from all that, a team of professional cybersecurity team must be available to secure the huge amount of money transactions taking place.


Well, this one is pretty easy to understand. A good brand will have a good reputation and you can just ask your friend with some knowledge about online gambling. You can check for the reviews online and learn about a certain brand’s reputation in the gambling circle. Everyone likes to have a different experience from his or her online casinos, so just look for the one which can cover your requirements.


As we stated earlier, modern online casinos areas life-like and realistic as it gets. With cutting-edge 3D technology, realistic animations, and videos, your experience will be amazing. But then it comes to the gameplay and the flow of the game. People like their online gaming experience to be free of glitches and any kind of stoppage or loading. So you should check for the reviews about the performances as these glitches can affect your progress.

Customer Support

Responsive and competent customer support is the major requirement and the lack of the same can be very frustrating. Like any other business venture, these online casinos must be able to resolute any kind of problem that can be faced by the customers. When you are putting so much money and making such big transaction, you require to get an answer to any of your queries and quickly at that.

Banking Suite

User-friendly and smooth transaction portal is a very important factor to determine the customer’s engagement. People might have to transfer, deposit or withdraw money on a regular basis on an online gambling site. So if a casino cant transfer and let you move the funds efficiently and with easy then you will finally be frustrate.

Play safe