Online Gambling in the USA – What does the law say?

Online gambling is gaining higher status world-wide and everyday we here about more people joining in for a chance to make a quick buck. Not everyone succeeds and it might not be for everyone, but no one can deny the popularity of gambling. In this article we are looking at the USA and how their view is on gambling online and via land-based casinos as well. Laws over there are quite different to European laws and it can be good to know what you are getting in to before placing your stakes.

Online Gambling

As the United States are run mostly state-by-state they have separate laws when it comes to gambling online for each and every state. In some it is still very illegal with gambling, both for land-based casinos as well as online based ones. For most the latter is the case, few states have yet legalized gambling with real money but some have changed the recent years and we might see more states following as there is tax revenue to be made and people normally find ways of gambling anyway, may it be legal or illegal.

The first state to enable online gambling was the state of Delaware. Back in 2012 they legalized the business and in November 2013 the first markets opened up. But in Delaware gambling was operated through the state’s 3 racinos, the race tracks. They operate one site each where Delawarians can enjoy some online gambling. Even thought they were first with making it legal, Delaware is quite small in the gambling scene, with only 3 sites the state totaled a revenue of 2.6 million in 2018.

The most popular state for gambling is by far New Jersey. Coming in second, they decided back in 2013 to make it legal for casinos to host and offer online products through the state. All gambling falls under the Department of Law and Public Safety – an entity which ensures transparency and standards are followed. As they were the more popular state to have legal online gambling for many years it is the state that brings in the most gambling revenue in the country. They only gave out licenses to already existing land-based casinos unlike in Europe where most online businesses are only operating online. This enable big casinos from Atlantic City like Caesars, Bogata and Tropicana to expand into the online venture as well. To this day New Jersey is the state where US casinos go to get an online license, the state has more online casinos than any other state in the union. In 2018 the online casino industry brought in almost 300 million dollars for the year in revenue, and overall, they passed over a billion since launching. For more information about New Jersey and online gaming you can visit this website.

The remaining states that allow for online bets to be made are as follows:

  • Pennsylvania – In Pennsylvania they legalized online gambling in 2017. First online casinos were active in 2019 and they offer casino games, sports betting as well as online poker. You can find 13 operators in the state.
  • West Virginia – Allowed online gambling in 2019 with the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. The 5 casinos in the state can offer casino and poker products online. None have been launched yet.
  • Nevada – In Nevada we don’t find any online casinos, only land based ones. They do allow for gambling but as their land based casinos are so popular there was only one site launched so far, and this is for poker only.

For the following 4 states, no online casino or poker is offered. But as the US Supreme Court decided that the PASPA was unconstitutional we expect to see some radical changes when it comes to sports betting. The 4 states plus New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are currently looking into offering or are already offering sports betting online.

  • Rhode Island
  • Oregon
  • Indiana
  • Iowa

Gambling in the USA

So as you can see gambling online in the USA is a little bit more complicated than for Europeans. If you are not in the right state you can not gamble legally and will have to go through illegal measures or gamble through a land based casino if you want to play. It is legal to gamble on a federal level, but not online, only 2 states completely outlaw all forms of gambling, these are Utah and Hawaii. The only 2 states that allow gambling through casinos allover the states are Nevada and Louisiana, otherwise the area for gambling is normally restricted to a specific zone. 

To see specifics for all types of gambling you would have to see state-by-state. The ones that allow online gambling have been presented above. With the world developing and the internet faster than anything we can expect more states to allow gambling within a couple of years. The sports betting online will be the start of something bigger for the US, if we are correct.

As you can see there are some things to keep in mind when gambling from the US, make sure it is legal the way you are punting and do your research before placing any bets. Good luck!   

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