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US Online Casino Laws: What You Need to Know




US Online Casino Laws: What You Need to Know

The online gambling laws in the United States are complex and vary significantly from state to state. Some states have fully embraced online casinos and poker, allowing residents to play freely. Others have much stricter regulations, with bans and penalties for those who participate.

This guide will help you understand the current state of online gambling laws in the US and provide insights into what the future might hold for this industry, especially in 2024.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was approved in 2006 to regulate online gambling. Instead of banning online gambling outright, the UIGEA made it more difficult for sites to handle payments. If a transaction is illegal under state or federal law, the site cannot process the payment. This has made players and online casinos more cautious.

The UIGEA requires banks and credit card companies to block payments for illegal online gambling. Online casinos must keep clear financial records for transparency. Penalties for breaking this law can include fines, jail time, and taking away assets.

The law mainly focuses on financial institutions in the US, letting states decide their own online gambling rules. Because of the UIGEA, many states have had to create their own regulations, and some gambling operators have moved to other markets outside the US.

Federal vs. State Authority in Online Gambling

While the UIGEA was a major federal step, it mainly targeted the flow of money rather than shutting down online gambling outright. It restricted financial transactions for illegal gambling but didn’t prohibit the existence of online casinos. Similarly, the Federal Wire Act of 1961, which blocks using communication facilities for bets, made operations a bit harder but didn’t end online gambling.

State governments hold the real power when it comes to legalizing online gambling. They decide what forms of online gambling are allowed, which can include online casinos, poker, sports betting, and even fantasy sports. Each state has its own set of rules regarding types of games, geographic restrictions, payment processing methods, and licensing requirements.

As more states start to accept different forms of online gambling, the landscape is evolving. We’re seeing a growing trend where states are more open to the idea of legal online betting platforms.

List of States Where Is Legal

Several states in the US have made online gambling, or iGaming, legal as of March 2024. It means residents and visitors can legally participate in online casinos in these states.

Here is a complete list of states where online gambling is allowed:

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

Differences in Online Gambling Laws by State


When you think of Nevada, you might picture bustling casinos filled with poker chips and slot machines. Indeed, Nevada was the first state to legalize gambling in the US. While it’s famous for its in-person casinos, its approach to online gambling is more complex. In 2010, Nevada allowed sports betting online and began offering regulated online poker three years later. However, online casino games like slots, roulette, and blackjack remain illegal.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) oversees and regulates online gambling in the state. Here are some key points about their regulations:

  • Licensing: Every operator must pass the NGCB’s licensing process.
  • Location: Players must be located within Nevada to play online poker or place sports bets.
  • Age: The minimum gambling age is 21 for both online and in-person betting.
  • Player Pool: Online poker is limited to players within Nevada, meaning you can only play against others in the state.

These rules can change, so it’s important to check the NGCB’s official website for the latest updates. Following these guidelines will help you stay compliant with the law.

New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the most progressive states when it comes to online gambling. In 2013, former Governor Chris Christie signed a bill to legalize it. This means residents can enjoy a wide range of online betting and gambling games. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find in New Jersey:

  • Classic Casino Games: You can play all your favorite casino games like blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and video poker.
  • Slots: There are many slot machines to choose from, including popular games like Big Catch Bass Fishing and Dancing Drums.
  • Poker: Engage in various tournaments and cash games in online poker.
  • Live Dealer Games: Play with live dealers for a more interactive experience in games like blackjack and roulette.
  • Sports Betting: Place wagers on professional and amateur sports, including international competitions.

To operate an online casino legally in New Jersey, operators must go through a rigorous licensing process overseen by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). This process includes submitting operational plans, financial assessments, and undergoing background checks.

If you want to learn more about opening an online casino in NJ, visit the NJDGE’s website to check out their gaming regulations.

Other States

Several other states have also taken steps to make online gambling legal. Each state offers different types of online gambling, from casinos to sports betting.

  1. Connecticut: This state made online casinos and sports betting legal in 2021. The two main online casinos here are DraftKings and Mohegan Sun. If you’re in Connecticut, you can enjoy games like poker, slots, and sports wagers.
  2. Delaware: One of the first states to legalize online gambling back in 2013, Delaware allows online casinos, sports betting, and poker. Players in Delaware can access a wide range of games legally and safely.
  3. Michigan: In 2019, Michigan passed laws to allow online casinos, poker, and sports betting. Residents can visit sites like BetMGM and FanDuel to place their bets or play casino games from home.
  4. Pennsylvania: In 2019, Pennsylvania made online casinos, poker, and sports betting legal. The state has one of the most comprehensive online gambling scenes in the US, featuring numerous casinos and betting options.
  5. Rhode Island: This state legalized sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports online in 2024. It also plans to launch online casinos in April 2024, so players in Rhode Island will soon have more options to gamble online.
  6. West Virginia: In 2019, West Virginia legalized online sports betting and online casinos. This allows residents to bet on sports or play casino games without ever leaving their homes.

These states require strict rules for age verification, geolocation, and consumer protection. This ensures that gambling stays safe and legal. Make sure to stay updated on the latest regulations in your state to gamble responsibly.

Recent Changes and Updates in Gambling Regulations

The gambling industry is changing fast. Here are some important updates in the US online gambling market:

  • Growth Surge: The online gambling market is expected to grow at an 8.86% CAGR from 2024 to 2029, with revenue estimated to reach US$35.21 billion by 2029.
  • Nevada’s Record: Nevada set a new gaming revenue record of US$15.5 billion in 2023, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
  • New States Considering Legalization: New York and Kentucky might be the next states to legalize online casinos. New York is especially significant due to its large market.
  • Stricter Regulations in New Jersey: The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) will enforce tougher measures on gaming revenue transparency. They will closely monitor revenue reports from individual operators.
  • Major Acquisition: Hard Rock Digital (HRD) has agreed to obtain the US B2C assets of 888 Holdings, a well-known betting and gaming company.
  • Focus Areas: Regulated online casinos are gaining attention but aren’t the main focus yet. Legal sports betting continues to drive the market in most states. People can place sports bets on their favorite teams, and horse racing betting is now legal in 41 states.
  • Consumer Protection: There will likely be more efforts to protect consumers, as many players still use unregulated black-market casinos, posing significant risks.

Stay updated with the latest changes to gamble responsibly and safely.

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