USA Gambling – Law, Legality & Games

The United States of America is one of the most important states when it comes to entertainment and the gambling industry. The majority of the popular music genres have originated in the States and their influence is still felt today. Thanks to talented individuals in the film industry there have been countless movies and TV shows produced that influence the cinematic productions of today. Their shows and films are unique as well as their approach to them. The casino industry also owes it to the US when it comes to indirectly promoting the industry. Some classic crime movies feature casinos and casino games and in that way, the glam of casino resorts is promoted. However, when it comes to the legality of gambling in the States the situation is a bit confusing.

Is Gambling Legal in the USA?

The thing that makes the situation confusing is the public opinion on gambling since each state is allowed by the Constitution to make up its own mind about gambling. So there are states where some types of gambling are legal and others are not. So gambling is technically legal in the USA but the types of gambling differ from state to state. This is obvious from the states struggling through the court to legalize online sportsbooks & online gambling but people are doing gambling through sites like

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Gambling Types Accepted in USA

Although most states are against gambling both land-based and online there is a group of states that are moving towards the legalization of gambling. These states include Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In the states of New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as of 31st December, 2019 online gambling will be legalized in the form of online sportsbooks and online casinos. West Virginia is the only state of these that still hasn’t legalized online poker. The lottery is legal in most states and is state-run to ensure a fair gambling experience. Gambling in land-based casinos is only available in Louisiana and Nevada statewide and only some states have recently legalized betting on sports.       

Minimum Age for Legal Gambling in USA

The minimum legal age for gambling is 21 and this goes for the most gambling establishments across the states. However, the minority of the states also let 18-year olds participate in gambling activities. Such states include Pennsylvania, New York, Maine. Arkansas, Illinois, and Kansas. This means that persons below that age cannot engage in gambling activities and cannot be employed in such establishments and those premises that don’t abide by the regulations are subject to legal punishment.

Gambling Laws for Gamblers and Operators in USA

As mentioned above, certain forms of gambling are legal in the US and they’re strictly regulated. The regulations that the land-based gambling institutions have to adhere to are set in the US Federal Law. Each state functions as a regulatory body when it comes to gambling and can decide whether gambling is legal or illegal. Lotteries are seen as harmless forms of gambling and are always operated by the state to ensure players have a fair gambling experience. Unlike the lotteries, casino gambling isn’t that widespread. Because of the Native American Trust Land, the Federal law provides a leeway for games of chance under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The states of Louisiana and Nevada are the only states where casino gambling is legal on the territory of the whole state so their local governments regulate the gambling activities in them. There are other states where casino gambling is legal but they restrict it to certain geographic areas such as American Indian reservations some of which are located near large cities or in them. Some states have even restricted casinos to riverboats similarly to the boat-casinos in India.

The US legislation becomes a bit tougher in the case of online gambling. It wasn’t until recently that some states managed to win the battle of legalizing it. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 made it illegal to wager on sports but it didn’t specify the regulations when it came to online gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 didn’t specifically prohibit online gambling but it prohibited financial transactions regarding gambling online forcing online gaming to move offshore. In more recent times, there are already quite a few online gambling sites that are operating on the territory of the US but since the legislation isn’t particularly clear on them they aren’t illegal but aren’t exactly legal.

They belong to a grey area or a sort of middle ground when it comes to gambling. Most of these sites are British sites that have managed to strengthen their foothold in the US. When it comes to legislation more and more states are welcoming the idea of legalizing land-based and online gambling. This means that the governments of those states can improve their economy from the benefits of taxing gambling activities. Since the states function as regulatory bodies the duration of a license as well as its cost differ from state to state. Similarly, each state levies a different tax on the gambling activities of these establishments. The operators aren’t the only ones that are responsible for paying taxes. The players are taxed with a flat rate of 25% of their winnings from gambling activities.     

Gambling Commissions for USA

Because different states have different opinions regarding gambling the regulations differ from state to state. Gambling activities are regulated by Federal Law and this law has all the rules the gambling premises need to follow so they can operate or the territory of the state in question. To make sure that all the regulations are enforced and abided by each state has its Board or Department that’s responsible for supervising and controlling the gambling activities. The Native American Tribes have their own gaming boards that function as regulatory bodies for the casinos in the reservations. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act also provides additional regulations that are enforced by another body – the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Gambling Games Legal Status in USA :

Poker: – Online poker is prohibited in most US states. Except for Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and the US Virgin Islands. If players decide to play poker online on foreign online poker sites, they are not prosecuted. But foreign online poker sites barely accept United States players.

Bingo: – In many states of the United States, bingo is permitted only for charitable reasons. Except for New Jersey. Currently, a New Jersey licensee in the United States, is introduced. Players who want to play on foreign online bingo sites are not prosecuted.

Lottery: – The lottery is the state monopoly in the United States. Only four states, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and Georgia, have the opportunity to launch an online version of the lottery. Some foreign online lotteries also allow people to buy online lottery tickets, and people are not prosecuted.

Sports betting: – Sports betting is illegal. Nevada is the only state in the United States to offer legal online sports betting. Legal online platforms that accept bets on horse racing are available in most parts of the US states. Some online Sportbookers accept players from the USA.