U.S. federal laws like the 1961 Wire Act and 2006 UIGEA relate to gambling, while a myriad of state gambling laws regulate gaming in the United States. US gambling laws thus vary wildly from state to state. The law covers everything from commercial and tribal casinos, charity gaming, poker games, homes (social gaming), pari-mutuel wagering on the horses or the dogs and more.  Online gambling and sports betting change constantly at the moment. Our state gambling law rundown below gives an overview, but click on the individual state page for more info.

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U.S. Gambling Laws by State

While we make every effort to research our reviews scrupulously, this is merely that – information, most of it gleaned from a thousand other information portals on the web. We make no warranty for the accuracy of our information, and it certainly doesn’t constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a qualified lawyer, and there is no substitute for it. If you’re ever considering doing something which you’re unsure of the legality of – stop and consult a lawyer first, whether it relates to gambling or anything else.

Clicking on any of the links below will take you to a guide to that state’s gambling history, current trends and legal status for different activities, as well as providing a guide to the existing legal forms of real money gambling in that state, be they casino, racetrack or smaller scale affairs. For a comprehensive review of the poker laws in each state, we recommend you see this site.

Quick Overview of Latest US Gambling Laws

Alabama Gambling Laws

Alabama

Alabama is seriously strict on gambling, with existing options being the tribal casinos, horse and dog tracks, charity bingo and unraked social home games.

Alaska Gambling Laws

Alaska

This northern wilderness offers small tribal casinos which run bingo, freeroll or home game poker, and games of guess the salmon in the catch. Oh and pull-tab games.

az

Arizona

There are quite a few options in Arizona, including tribal casinos, horse and dog tracks, liquor venue poker games, charity gambling and social home games.

ark

Arkansas

Arkansas allows wagering on the horses and the dogs, and a couple of “racinos” which offer electronic tables games and in-person sports betting.  4 more casinos are on the way. There’s no allowance for social gambling.

ca

California

With a long history of licensed gambling in California, options abound. Bingo, raffles, horse-racing, and social unraked home games are all fine. Almost a hundred card rooms and over fifty tribal casinos make this a real gambling hotspot. There’s even a little online horse-racing going on.

Colorado Gambling Laws

Colorado

Home games without a rake are allowed, and horse and dog racing exist. Colorado is home to dozens of casinos, which are mostly tribal. They host slots, table games, poker, and sports betting.

conneticut

Connecticut

Connecticut is famed for its horse-racing, there’s little else besides a lottery, duck and frog races, some dog tracks and two enormous casinos (Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun), a pair of the biggest in the world.

Delaware Online Casinos

Delaware

With charity games including poker, an allowance for unraked social home games, horse-racing and three casinos, there’s a fair spread of options for a gamble in Delaware. Sports betting and online casino gambling exist for the three horse racing tracks: Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Racecourse.

florida

Florida

With horse-racing, charity and social gaming within strict betting limits, pari-mutuel card rooms adjoining racetracks, cruise and riverboat gambling and a chain of tribal casinos (Seminoles/Hard Rock), there’s a good bit regulated gambling in Florida.

georgia gambling

Georgia

Pretty limited options exist in Georgia. You can play charity games, the state lottery and freeroll poker games. Other than that it’s a single casino cruise ship, the Emerald Princess. Several lawmakers have sponsored bills to legalize casinos but with no success yet.

haw

Hawaii

Very sparse pickings in the island paradise of Hawaii. Unraked home games are tolerated, and a strange form of “skill-based” amusement machine is allowed apparently. Otherwise there’s nada, not even a lottery.

idaho

Idaho

There are racetracks in Idaho, as well as charity bingo / raffles. There are actually casinos as well, half a dozen tribal ones, running electronic gaming only.

illinois

Illinois

The Illinois state lottery sells tickets online, while horse-racing and bingo games abound here. Charity gaming does pretty well here too, and poker games are allowed in that context. There’s also a bunch of machine gambling, ten fully fledged riverboat casinos, and legal sports betting.

indiana

Indiana

Indiana has horse-racing and licensed charity gaming including table games. There are also a full dozen riverboat casinos in Indiana, running 21 approved games including poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. Casinos now can host sportsbooks, while mobile sports betting exists.

iowa

Iowa

With horse and dog racing, charity and social home games allowed, and both land-based and riverboat casinos, there’s a lot of gambling going on in Iowa. The laws on betting limits are very strict, so check it out carefully. Sports betting is now legal.

kansas

Kansas

The law allows for charity bingo, a state lottery, and wagers on horse and dog races. There are also both tribal and commercial casinos in Kansas. Social gambling does not enjoy a specific exemption.

ken

Kentucky

Famed for its horseraces, Kentucky also plays host to a state lottery with online purchase options, charity bingo and raffles. No casinos except over state borders.

loui

Louisiana

Horse-racing, home poker games, charity bingo, keno and raffles, and a wide and varied selection of casinos including commercial, tribal and riverboat make for a good gaming selection in Louisiana.

Maine Gambling Laws

Maine

With a couple of casinos featuring table games and slots, a high stakes bingo club, and a smattering of horseracing, there are gambling options here. There’s also charity gaming and social home games are allowed.

mland

Maryland

Maryland has recently seen a degree of gambling expansion, with table games and slots now allowed across five casinos in the state. MGM National Harbor and Horseshoe Baltimore (Caesars) even have poker rooms. There’s also horseracing and charity bingo.

Massachusetts Gambling Laws

Massachusetts

This state has horse and dog races, charity gaming including bingo and keno as well as poker, and a casino cruise ship sailing daily out of Lynn which features a full range of table games. A major gambling expansion is underway with casinos on the horizon for late 2014.

Michigan Online Casinos

Michigan

There’s a lot of charity gaming going on, horseracing, and sports betting. But Michigan also has a lot of commercial and tribal casinos, the commercial variety being concentrated in Detroit. Online gambling launched on January 22, 2021.

Minnesota Gambling Laws

Minnesota

Plenty going on here, with racinos adjoined by poker rooms, an active charity gambling scene including venues where you can wager on your iPad, online lottery tickets and a bunch of tribal casinos.

Mississippi Gambling Laws

Mississippi

This state has no allowance for social home gaming, and no horseracing. There are plenty of casinos, however — both commercial and tribal in nature. In-person sports betting is legal, but legal mobile sportsbooks don’t exist.

Missouri Gambling Laws

Missouri

With charity bingo and raffles, but no allowance for social home gaming, your other options include a cluster of casinos in Kansas and St. Louis complete with card rooms. There are riverboat and land-based casinos here.

mon

Montana

No commercial casinos but a few tribal ones, generally offering bingo, slots and keno. There’s the odd charity casino night, offering some card games and video gaming allowed in licensed liquor venues. Montana offers a little bit of horseracing, as well as in-person sports betting.

neb

Nebraska

You can’t play Omaha in Omaha. Poker is illegal, except for freerolls. Charity keno and bingo exist, and there are three tribal casinos offering mostly electronic gaming — though one gets the idea that Nebraska would ban them if they could. There are also horse racecourses.

nevada

Nevada

What can’t you do? Sin City is obviously teeming with gambling options. While Nevada has online intra-state poker sites, it hardly invested in online casinos. Nevada has legal sports betting, but 19 other US states now have the same.

New Hampshire Gambling Laws

New Hampshire

The state with the oldest lottery in the USA, New Hampshire is no stranger to gambling. With licensed card rooms, horseracing, racinos, and mobile-only sports betting. No social home gaming is permitted.

New Jersey Online Casinos

New Jersey

This is the state making headlines in the gambling world, with online casinos and sports betting run by every single land-based New Jersey casino since 2014. All systems are go on the biggest online casino boom seen yet in the USA.

New Mexico Gambling Laws

New Mexico

With five racinos, charity bingo and twenty-five casinos no less, there’s a lot of wagering going on here. Two casinos have in-person sports betting.

New York Gambling Laws

New York

With nine racinos and a bunch of charity gaming, you’ve got options in New York. Bars are now allowed gambling terminals, and there are almost a dozen tribal casinos across the state. New York has a half-dozen poker rooms and, as of 2019, legal in-person sports betting.

North Carolina

North Carolina

There are racetracks but no wagering allowed in them, and tribal casinos exist but only one is licensed to run table games, Harrah’s Cherokee which runs the only poker games in the state. Home games are not allowed.

North Dakota Gambling Laws

North Dakota

There are horse and dog tracks here, as well as tribal casinos offering table games and poker. Charity gaming includes bingo, raffles and poker. Home games are allowed within wagering limits.

ohio

Ohio

Ohio has horseracing, charity gaming and four commercial casinos (but no tribal ones). The casinos offer poker as well as other table games. Social home gaming is tolerated as well.

Oklahoma Gambling Laws

Oklahoma

There are racinos aplenty, charity gaming and almost one hundred (!) tribal casinos in this state, running tables games and a poker. Over seventy poker tournaments run weekly in the state.

Oregon Gambling Laws

Oregon

Oregon has charity gaming including bingo and “Monte Carlo” nights, horseracing, sports betting, and about a dozen tribal casinos. There are even poker rooms. Social gaming is determined at the county level.

Pennsylvania Online Casinos

Pennsylvania

The state that’s second in the nation (behind Nevada) for gambling revenue (via taxes), Pennsylvania has allowed casinos since 2004 and table games (blackjack, roulette, baccarat) since 2010. With eleven commercial casinos with poker rooms and sportsbooks, Pennsylvania has a lot of gambling. It also has online casinos and sports betting apps.

Rhode Island Gambling Laws

Rhode Island

Pickings are on the slim side here. There’s no tribal gaming, no horseracing and really no poker. Home games are not exempted under the law. The state offers a lottery and keno games, plus charity bingo. Otherwise there is one option in town, the Twin Rivers Casino which runs plenty of table games, slots, and a sportsbook.

South Carolina Gambling Laws

South Carolina

Options are very restricted here. There’s a state lottery, and some charitable bingo. You may not play home games, even without money involved! There are however two casino cruise ships running daily out into international waters.

South Dakota Gambling Laws

South Dakota

This state has video lottery terminals, horseracing and charity bingo. Home games are not allowed for under the law, but there are plenty of tribal casinos, as well as a commercial casino and card room industry in the legendary Wild West town of Deadwood.

Tennessee Gambling Laws

Tennessee

There’s very little gambling going on here. There’s a state lottery, and charity raffles. There are poker freerolls, but no allowance for social home games. Mobile-only sports betting is legal.

Texas Gambling Laws

Texas

There’s only one public venue for a legal game of Texas Holdem in Texas, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, which also runs bingo and slots. Otherwise the state has horseracing and charity bingo. Social home games are also tolerated.

Utah Gambling Laws

Utah

So we arrive at the most restrictive of all states regarding gambling. There’s no state lottery, no charity gaming and no social home gambling allowed. Either play for free, or head out of state.

Vermont Gambling Laws

Vermont

Charities may run bingo, raffles and poker every so often. Social home gaming has no specific exemption in law, and there are no casinos. There is a state lottery, and that’s about it.

vir

Virginia

Virginia has one racetrack, some charity bingo and raffles, and a lottery. Social home games are permitted provided they are unraked and irregular. No casinos as of yet.

was

Washington

With racetracks, charitable “Vegas Nights” and social home games, there are ways to play here in Washington. There are also plenty of card rooms as well as commercial and tribal casinos across the state.

Washington DC Gambling Laws

Washington DC

The federal district doesn’t have a huge spread of options for a gamble. There are charity events including “Monte Carlo” nights, a lottery, and sports betting. The District of Columbia has no casinos or horse-racing wagers allowed, but MGM National Harbor (in Maryland) is only 10 miles away. Social home games don’t enjoy any special dispensation either.

wvirg

West Virginia

There is a lot going on in the Mountaineer State. West Virginia has racecourses for horses and dogs, racinos with table games, and poker rooms. Table games have been allowed since 2008, but no social gaming. West Virginia has sports betting and, since July 2020, real money online casinos.

wisc

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has horseracing, charity bingo and almost twenty tribal casinos including several with poker rooms. Over a dozen poker tournaments run each week across the state. Wisconsin is the home of Phil Hellmuth.

wyom

Wyoming

Having recently introduced horseracing wagering, that’s been an option since 2011. Charity bingo exists, as does social home gaming. There’s a scattering of tribal casinos, some of which offer table games. The latest news is that Wyoming has authorized a lottery, which began operations in 2014.

Timeline of US Online Gambling Laws

  • September 13, 1961: US President John F. Kennedy Signs Federal Wire Act

    1961 Federal Wire Act

    Pres. John F. Kennedy signed the Federal Wire Act into law. The law was part of US Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s war on the US mob, as the Wire Act targetted illegal bookmakers. Any interstate sports bets placed over the telephone lines were banned.

  • October 28, 1992: PASPA Sports Betting Bill Signed into Law

    1992 PASPA Sports Betting Law

    President George H.W. Bush signed PASPA, which banned sports betting in 46 states.

    Four states had sports betting laws grandfathered in: Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Nevada had single-game sports betting, while the other three had sports lotteries (a form of parlay betting).

  • October 13, 2006: UIGEA Online Gambling Ban Signed into Law

    2006 UIGEA Online Gambling Ban

    14 years later, President George W. Bush signed into a law the UIGEA. The UIGEA stated that any form of gambling banned under the Wire Act (over the phone lines) were now banned over the Internet.

    The new law made it illegal for financial institutions or credit card companies to process gambling payments in the United States. This drove all publicly-traded gaming groups out of the US market, along with many payment processors.

  • April 15, 2011: Black Friday Comes to US Online Poker Sites

    Online Poker Black Friday

    The U.S. Department of Justice seizes the domains of online poker sites like PokerStars and FullTilt Poker. The DOJ also unsealed indictments against 11 online poker executives, claiming they violated the UIGEA, committed fraud, and laundered money.

    This had a chilling effect on the offshore US online gambling niche.

  • December 23, 2011: US DOJ Reverses Opinion on Wire Act, UIGEA

    US Online Gambling Laws 2011

    Earlier in 2011, the Attorney Generals of Illinois and New York asked the US Department of Justice its opinion on the 1961 Wire Act and 2006 UIGEA.

    In December, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Council (OLC) stated that the US Wire Act banned sports betting, but not poker or casino gambling. This was based on the fact that Wire Act prosecutions from the 1960s to 2000s always focused on sports betting — since poker and casino bets couldn’t be made over the phone.

    Suddenly, US states were free to legalize, regulate, and tax online casino and poker betting.

  • June 28, 2012: Delaware Regulates Online Casinos and Poker Sites

    Delaware Online Gambling Bill 2012

    Delaware becomes the first US state to legalize online gambling under the new DOJ interpretation.

    The Delaware Gambling Competitiveness Act made online poker and casino gaming legal. Dover Downs, Harrington Racecourse, and Delaware Park could launch gaming portals.

  • February 22, 2013: Nevada Regulates Online Poker

    Nevada Online Poker Bill 2013

    Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Nevada’s online gambling bill, which legalized online poker (but not online casinos). Nevada became the second US state with legal online poker.

  • November 26, 2013: New Jersey Legalizes Online Casinos and Poker Sites

    New Jersey Online Gambling Bill

    Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that legalized online casino and poker rooms. Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey pari-mutuel wagering race tracks could launch online gambling sites.

  • Spring 2014: Restore America's Wire Act (RAWA) Introduced to U.S. Congress

    Restore America's Wire Act - RAWA Ban

    In the spring of 2014, US Senator Lindsay Graham and U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA) to both houses of the U.S. Congress and held committee hearings to debate the issue.

    Both claimed (1) the original Federal Wire Act banned all forms of gambling instead of sports betting alone, (2) that GPS technology couldn’t tell if gamblers were playing in states that banned online gambling, and (3) online gambling might contribute to terrorism.

    After a disastrous hearing in the House Oversight Committee in December 2016 in which these assertions were challenged, the two dropped the issue. The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) shifted its efforts from congress and instead lobbied state governments and the incoming administration.

  • October 26, 2017: Pennsylvania Regulates Online Casinos and Poker Rooms

    Pennsylvania Online Gambling Bill 2017

    Facing a $2 billion budget shortfall, Pennsylvania legalized online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks, and daily fantasy sports sites. The state’s land-based casinos and racinos could launch online gaming sites.

    Gaming expansion, which included airport terminal betting and VLTs in convenience stores, was supposed to raise $200 million a year in tax revenue.

  • May 14, 2018: U.S Supreme Court Strikes Down PAPSA Law

    New Jersey Sports Betting Case in US Supreme Court 1

    The U.S. Supreme Court repealed the PASPA sports betting ban in a 6-3 decision.

    The SCOTUS stated, because PASPA favored four US states over 46 others, PASPA violated the Commerce Clause and the Equal Sovereignty Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Congress could ban sports betting in all 50 states, regulate it in all 50 states, or step back and let state governments decide for themselves.

  • September 20, 2019: U.S. Senate Considers Federal Sports Betting Law

    US Sports Betting Law

    In September 2019, media reports suggested that then-Senate Major Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) were working on a bipartisan sports betting bill.

    This would have created one federal standard for sports betting laws, while undermining the 20+ US states that had (or would have) their own laws. Sports gamblers were concerned, because early talk of a federal sports betting bill might have had a 1% or more “integrity tax” paid to US sports leagues. Bookmakers claim such taxes were unfair and would ruin their margins on sports betting.

    The bill has not received much attention for more than a year, so it seems a federal sports betting bill has little chance of passing.

  • May 2018 to Present: 20 US States and Washington DC Embrace Sports Betting

    List of US States with Sports Betting

    Since May 2019, 20 US states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting in one form or another. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia each have full mobile optimized sports betting apps, plus land-based sportsbooks.

    Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and New York have in-person betting. Mississippi, Oregon, and Montana technically have mobile sports betting, but players must enter a casino/sportsbook in order to place those bets. New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington DC. each have mobile sports betting through one single operator.

  • 2021 and Forward: US States with Pending Sports Betting Legislation

    US Sports Betting Bills

    At present, 20 more US state legislatures are debating whether to legalize sports betting.

    As of 2021, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington state, have pending legislation (approved either by committee or in one house of the legislature). Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, and Vermont have sports betting bills under consideration by the legislature.

    Media reports suggest that Florida and Texas lawmakers might consider such bills in 2021, while North Dakota and Wyoming might have unileteral action by tribal casinos (like in New Mexico). Maine had a sports betting bill passed by both houses of the state legislature, but Gov. Janet Mills vetoed the bill.

  • January 14, 2019: U.S. Department of Justice Reverses 2011 Wire Act Opinion

    US Online Gambling Laws 2019

    The US Justice Department reversed its 2011 opinion on the Wire Act (and UIGEA), which stated that online casinos and poker sites were not banned under the UIGEA.

    US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated that states and online gaming sites had 90 days to comply (he later extended the date to June 14, 2019). This sparked a new round of controversy and lawsuits over the DOJ’s federal online gambling enforcement efforts.

  • February 19, 2019: New Hampshire Sues DOJ over Online Gambling Enforcement

    New Hampshire Lawsuit DOJ Online Gambling

    Just over a month after the new DOJ opinion was announced, the New Hampshire Attorney General sued the US Department of Justice over its threatened enforcement of online gambling.

    New Hampshire doesn’t have online casinos or poker sites, but the state lottery sells lotto tickets over the Internet. New Hampshire argued that its tax revenues would be negatively affected by the DOJ’s overreaching and unconstitutional ban on online gambling.

    A month later, the attorney generals of New Jersey and Pennsylvania joined the lawsuit, to protect their online casino/poker industries. The lawsuit is still ongoing.

  • December 19, 2019: Michigan Regulates Online Gambling and Sports Betting

    Michigan Online Gambling Bill 2019

    On December 19, 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed H 4916 and H 4311, which legalized online gambling sites and sports betting, respectively.

    Throughout 2020, Michigan officials approved gaming licenses for expanded gambling. Michigan gaming operators plan to launch online casinos and poker sites throughout 2021.

  • January 22, 2021: Michigan Launches Online Casino Apps

    Michigan Online Casino Apps

    The first 8 online casino apps launched in Michigan. These 8 gaming portals also had mobile sports betting apps. Each site features a partnership of a Michigan land-based casino and an online gaming software provider. The eight online casino operators and 1 sportsbook-only operator are:

    • BetMGM and MGM Grand Detroit
    • Fanduel and MotorCity Casino
    • Wynn Resorts and Sault Ste. Martie Tribe of Chippewa Indiana
    • Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers) and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
    • Golden Nugget Online Gaming and Keweenay Bay Indian Community
    • TwinSpirts and Hannahville Indian Community
    • William Hill and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians
    • DraftKings and Bay Mills Indian Community
    • Greektown Casino and Penn Sports Interactive/Barstool Sportsbook (online sports betting app only)