• United States gambling laws vary from state to state.
  • Currently, online gambling is legal in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.

The US federal government allows each state to regulate or prohibit the practice within its own borders. Nevada and Louisiana represent the only two states that authorize legal Casino-style gambling statewide. Both state and local governments impose licensing and zoning restrictions. All other states that allow Casino-style gambling restrict activity to small geographic areas such as New Jersey’s Atlantic City. Some states restrict Casinos to "riverboats", large multi-story barges usually moored in a body of water. As sovereign nations, American Indian tribes have used legal protection to open casinos based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Although gambling is legal under US federal law, significant restrictions exist in regards to interstate and online gambling. With state-run lotteries included, almost every state allows some form of gambling. However, Casino-style gambling is much less prevalent.

USA Online Gambling Laws: Where Things Get Tricky

Internet gambling in the United States falls into a legal grey area. Technically, US law forbids Online Casinos throughout most of the country. However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIEGA) does not specifically outlaw online gambling, but prohibits financial transactions involving online gambling service providers.

Even though the UIEGA doesn’t explicitly prohibit internet wagering, the Justice Department has still interpreted the law to outlaw most internet gambling. In 2011, the FBI shut down the three largest Online Poker sites concurrently arresting and charging eleven people including the sites founders. Charges included violation of gambling laws, bank fraud, and money laundering.

So Where Can I Play?

Current US Online Casino laws however do not prevent individual states from passing legislation overriding federal court rulings. As a result, state by state laws vary with some allowing horse betting while prohibiting Online Poker or Casino Games. As of today, three states have officially legalized gambling online: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware and are developing their local Online Casino industry. Many other states including California and Pennsylvania have legalized online gambling proposals in the works through respective legislatures.