Online Gambling Laws In The USA

There are different angles to understanding the online gambling laws across the United States. As a whole, online gambling is legal throughout all the United States. Starting with the gambling laws for licensed online gambling sites, there are no federal laws or state laws that restrict you from using them regardless of what your home state’s regulations are. Some of those gambling sites have even been around for 10+ years without ever seeing anyone face any sort of legal trouble for using them.

Looking at the regulated gambling laws for online casinos, there are six states that fit that description including Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. There are also six states that have online poker rooms that include all of the states mentioned before with the exception of Connecticut, but including Nevada. As for sports betting, 33 states and Washington D.C. have regulated forms of it including:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The way that state-regulated gambling laws work are that operators need to obtain a gambling license from the state for that specific gambling type and they’ll need to pay an annual fee to keep their license active to continue offering their services. Where things could start to get complicated is that some states will offer both online and retail gambling while some have just online or just retail while others have no sort of state-regulated online gambling. For those states with no forms of online gambling, that is where the licensed legal online gambling sites come in.

There are three main laws to know about when talking about forms of online gambling and those are the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act, the Wire Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Starting with the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), it was passed in 1992 and actually banned sports betting across the country with the exception of four states (Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware). However, this did not last long as it was overturned in 2018 which then allowed states to come up with their own laws and regulations to allow sports betting.

The Federal Wire Act, which was created in 1961, originally was not intended to cover sports betting, but in 2011 was given the jurisdiction of only sports betting. This prohibits sports bettors from placing bets on sports to a regulated state while outside of the state. Basically, you cannot have a proxy placing bets for you if you aren’t located in the state.

Finally, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This was passed into law in 2006 which banned banks from transferring gambling money from US gamblers. This mainly applies to the licensed online gambling sites specifically when making a transaction with a credit or debit card. You’ll either need to confirm that you want to make the transaction and it’ll go through or you can choose another form of payment such as cryptocurrency.

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