Types of Gambling in the USA
Generally speaking, players can find all types of gambling in the US, including daily fantasy sports, online casinos, online poker, lotteries, and sports betting. From a legal point of view, however, the situation is much more complicated. The only three states where online gambling and all types of betting are allowed are New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Meanwhile, in some states, certain games might be illegal or frowned upon. In order to get a better grasp of the situation, we recommend you to take a look at our list of legal differences for each state.
|NJ Gambling Site||Welcome Bonus||Legal in States||Test Score||Trusted Link|
|BetMGM||$1000||NJ & PA||4.9/5||www.betmgm.com|
|Betrivers||$250||NJ & PA||4.9/5||www.betrivers.com|
|Hard Rock Online Casino||$1000||NJ||4.8/5||www.hardrockcasino.com|
|Borgata||$1000||NJ & PA||4.8/5||www.borgataonline.com|
|Unibet||$500||NJ & PA||4.8/5||unibet.com|
|NJ Gambling Site||Welcome Bonus||Pros and Cons||Test Score||Trusted Link|
|BetMGM||$1000||Sports, Casino & Poker, Low Wagering, Short Bonus Time||4.9/5||www.betmgm.com|
|Hard Rock Online Casino||$1000||Big Welcome Bonus, Variety of Games, Few Jackpots||4.8/5||www.hardrockcasino.com|
|Golden Nugget||$1000||Big Game Selection, Excellent Bonuses, Few Jackpot Games||4.8/5||www.goldennugget.com|
|Borgata||$1000||World-Renowned Casino, Sports, Casino & Poker, A Few Jackpot Slots||4.8/5||www.borgataonline.com|
|888Casino||$500||Diverse Casino Games, High-Roller Bonus, No Bitcoin Payments||4.8/5||www.us.888casino.com|
|Virgin||$100||Over a Dozen Promos, 90 Ball Bingo, No Live Tables||4.7/5||www.virgincasino.com|
|Tropicana||$100||Lots of Playtech Games, Great VIP Lounge, No Live Games||4.7/5||www.tropicanacasino.com|
|Bet365||$500||Great Mobile App, Low Wagering, Only 1 Jackpot Game||4.7/5||www.casino.nj.bet365.com|
|Unibet||$500||Many Promotions, Sportsbook Available, No Live Dealing||4.6/5||www.nj.unibet.com|
|Sugar House||$250||20+ Software Providers, Numerous Bonuses, Few Jackpots||4.6/5||www.playsugarhouse.com|
|Pala||$500||Video Poker, Bingo, Only 1 Jackpot||4.6/5||www.casinolobby.palacasino.com|
|Caesars||$1000||Top US Casino Brand, Great Reward System, Long Withdrawals||4.6/5||www.caesarscasino.com|
|Harrah’s||$300||Great Mobile Apps, Monthly Bonuses, Long PayPal Cashouts||4.5/5||www.harrahscasino.com|
|Party||$500||Great Live Casino, No Cashback Limits, No Credit Card Deposits||4.5/5||www.casino.nj.partycasino.com|
|Ocean Online Casino||$1500||Big Promotions, Good Variety of Slots, Few Table Games||4.5/5||www.oceanonlinecasino.com|
|Stars Casino||$500||Second and Third Deposit Bonuses, Comp Points System, Dull Design||4.5/5||www.pokerstars.com|
|PA Gambling Site||Welcome Bonus||Pros and Cons||Test Score||Trusted Link|
|BetMGM||$1000||Sports, Casino & Poker, Low Wagering, Short Bonus Time||4.9/5||www.betmgm.com|
|Betrivers||$250||Rich Selection of Slots, Inclusive Table Limits, 1 Casino Poker Game||4.8/5||www.betrivers.com|
|Unibet||$500||Trusted Payment Methods, Downloadable Apps, 2 RNG Blackjacks||4.7/5||www.unibet.com|
|FoxBet||FREE||Regular Promotions, Excellent User Experience, No Live Chat Support||4.7/5||www.foxbet.com|
|Borgata||$1000||World-Renowned Casino, Sports, Casino & Poker, A Few Jackpot Slots||4.5/5||www.borgataonline.com|
|Hollywood Casino||$502||Only x10 Wagering, LIVE casino, Suboptimal Design||4.4/5||www.hollywoodcasino.com|
|Caesars||$1000||Top US Casino Brand, Great Reward System, Long Withdrawals||4.3/5||www.caesarscasino.com|
|Stars Casino||$1500||Second and Third Deposit Bonuses, Comp Points System, Dull Design||4.2/5||www.pokerstars.com|
|Draft Kings||$1500||A Plethora of Contests, Multiple Sports, No Regular Offers||4.1/5||www.draftkings.com|
|Social Casino||New Player Gift||Pros and Cons||Test Score||Trusted Link||Terms|
|Slotomania||Free Coins||Diverse Slots, Bonus Every 3 Hours, Rewards Program||4.9/5||www.slotomania.com|
|House of Fun||100 Free Spins||Great Slots, New Games Weekly, Daily Offers||4.8/5||www.houseoffun.com|
|Caesars Games||100 Free Spins||Rich Slots Selection, Daily Bonuses & Challenges, Loyalty Program||4.7/5||www.caesarsgames.com|
|High5 Social Casino>||200,000 Coins||300+ Slot Games, VIP Rewards, No Table Games||4.7/5||www.club5.high5casino.com|
|Winstar Casino||25 Free Spins||Regular Promotions, Various Tournaments, Exclusive Games||4.6/5||www.winstaronlinegaming.com|
|Hard Rock Social Casino||Free Spins||Popular Slot Titles, Free Table Games, Live Tournaments||4.6/5||www.hardrocksocialcasino.com|
|Vegas Downtown Slots||100,000 Coins||Slots & Word Puzzles, 24/7 Slots Tournaments, No Table Games||4.6/5||Vegas Words|
- We have a deep understanding of the American gambling laws and follow the changes in the legislation and the activity each state’s corresponding gambling authorities.
- We are familiar with the gambling legal system and constantly monitor the latest developments in the industry. We follow the biggest online media such as The New York Times and Washington Post.
- We have extensive experience in creating free gambling guides and operator reviews. Some or most popular articles are about Real Money Blackjack and Video Poker Rules.
Online Casino Gaming in the USA
Despite the growing interest toward the online casinos, they are still banned in most states. Nevertheless, players from these respective states can play at Pennsylvania online casinos, New Jersey casino sites and in Delaware can legally play at certain state-regulated online casinos. Generally speaking, however, the online casinos’ legal situation has been rather difficult following the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006.
While the act did not directly illegalize the online casinos nor any other form of gambling, it banned payments made to unauthorized sites. Thus, while the law did not target the players directly, it did harm the gambling industry financially. As a result, many online casinos decided to leave the US market. Those who left suffered from restricted payment options and inevitably registered lower profits. Nevertheless, as we have already mentioned, whether you would be able to access certain casino sites depends on your state of residence’s local laws. Some states, for example, may block the access to most casino sites. Regardless, there are some stable operators that still accept players from the US.
This is without a doubt one of the most popular forms of gambling online in the USA. Sports betting in the USA used to be illegal under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The only exception was made for the states of Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon, which had pre-existing sports lotteries and sports betting frameworks that required an exemption from the act. However, the legal situation of sports betting was challenged in 2012 when the state legislature of New Jersey sports betting and gambling, and Governor Chris Christie signed a bill, which allowed sport betting to take place in the state. The NCAA, the NBA, the NFL, and other athletic leagues disapproved New Jersey’s actions and filed a lawsuit against the state claiming that legalizing sports betting went against the law stipulated by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. From there on, many got enrolled and now you can enjoy freely Iowa sports betting per example.
A decision was taken in 2013, when the United States District Court Judge Michael Shipp ruled in favor of the athletic leagues, prohibiting New Jersey from issuing sports betting licenses. Nevertheless, the state’s efforts to allow sports betting did not end there and in 2017, the New Jersey took its case to the Supreme Court. In May 2018, the Court ruled in favor of the state claiming that the 1992 federal ban on sports betting in most states violated their rights. As a result, all states were given the option to legalize sports betting, shall they wish to do so. The first ones to take the initiative were New Jersey and Rhode Island. Nowadays, sports betting is legal in various states and many others are planning to allow it soon. For the full list of states, in which you can participate in sports betting, please consult our table on each state’s legal gambling situation. Otherwise, if you are eager to understand which ones we can recommend, stay here and simply read. It will be a good idea to check the page about Pennsylvania sports betting since the state is fastly reaching the high positions in the gambling industry. Another example that we can give you is West Virginia sports betting, where there is still a lot of work and popularization to be done, yet the opportunities are great!
Now, remember that we mentioned that an exception was made for some of the states? If yes, then you will be happy to know that our team prepared pages also for two of the most interesting states, maybe. The first of the pages that we are talking about is dedicated to Delaware sports betting. The second one, is much more obvious, in all honesty. It is the first thing that pops-out in the head of whomever when they hear ‘gamble’… You most likely got it by now, so without more introductions, you can take a look at the opportunities that you can have if you choose Nevada sports betting.
The legal situation of the Daily Fantasy Sports in the United States is rather complicated. Technically, there is no federal law that prohibits citizens from playing daily fantasy sports. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibited banks from facilitating financial transactions to illegal gambling operations. However, in the same act was also mentioned that residents were allowed to bet on online horse racing and fantasy sports. The exception was made due to the fact that both horse racing and daily fantasy were classified as games of skill and therefore not illegal. Nevertheless, each state has the right to pass its own law and to decide whether the game should be ruled legal or illegal.
Many states have already legalized daily fantasy while others such as Alabama, Alaska, and Montana have decided to ban them completely. If you are looking for a legal one, the first that comes to mind is New Jersey daily fantasy betting and sports. The state is one of the most liberal ones and is having great legislations when it comes to gambling in general. We should also clarify, however, that even though daily fantasy sites operate in most states, in many of which they are in legal limbo, or unregulated. You can find out whether daily fantasy sports are allowed in your state in our gambling informative table.
Still, there are few more states where you can enjoy DFS legally and calmly. Another example is daily fantasy betting in Iowa where while many gambling products are illegal, you can play as much DFS as you want without any worries. If you want something different, or closer to you, you can check also Pennsylvania daily fantasy betting. This state is, honestly, in competition with New Jersey – both are very liberal towards online casinos and gambling and are fighting for the second place for popularity since obviously Nevada is taking the first. A bit behind them are standing West Virginia daily fantasy sports which are also legal, while not that popular and spread. But this is somehow normal, since whenever you think of gambling, Vegas and Atlantic City pop out in your head, for sure. And daily fantasy in Nevada is surely leading the chart.
The last state that we would like to recommend is also filled with opportunities. We are talking about Delaware daily fantasy betting sites that you can play. All in all, the states that can give you quite satisfactory time when it comes to DFS are not few at all and each has a huge number of sports appassionatos and players. Maybe that’s why there were no second thoughts in legalizing the product. Other states might change their minds fast and we will be following the situation. In case there are any changes, be sure that we will update you as soon as possible here in our site.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 forbade placing, receiving, or otherwise knowingly transmitting a wager or a betting by means of the internet. Thus, although it did not directly outlaw the US online gambling sites, it prohibited all American financial institutions from performing transactions with them. As a result, several large poker sites decided to close down their US operations. However, following the passage, Senator D’Amato joined the Poker Players Alliance in their attempts to protect and defend the right of US poker players to play online.
After a number of attempts to defend the players’ freedom to play online, in July 2010 the House Financial Services Committee passed a bill that would legalize online poker in the states. However, just a few months later, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a law that criminalized online poker. On August 2012, a federal judge in New York ruled that poker was mainly a game of skill, and thus playing it should not be considered a felony. In 2013, Nevada became the first state to officially legalize online poker. Delaware and New Jersey followed its steps and the states even signed an agreement to allow player pooling between them. Unfortunately, online poker is still outlawed in all other states, but the situation could change in the future.
The lotteries in the United States are run by 47 jurisdictions and available in 44 states. Due to their popularity, lotteries have become a significant source of revenue for the states, raising billions of dollars each year. Nevertheless, even though the lottery, in general, is successful and well-received among the states, we cannot say the same about its online version. In 2011 the US Department of Justice released a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Ac, which ultimately allowed the states to launch their own online lottery sales. Only a few states have done so since then, while others are still considering the idea. We must note, however, that most states have a rather conservative point of view toward online lotteries in general, which means that they would not allow them in the near future. Bear in mind, however, that certain international lottery sites might facilitate the online ticket sales for players from all states. We can wholeheartedly recommend you to check the Michigan lottery and the Pennsylvania lottery – both states definitely have what to offer in terms of gambling. Another quite tempting option that gives you some possibilities is the lottery in Delaware so check it out in case you are interested.
Online Gambling Guide for American Players
Once you have established that a certain type of game is legal and available at your state, you must make sure that you are playing at the best gambling site. To do so, you must look out for certain factors such as whether the operator holds a license from an official institution, would the available games be sufficient for you and whether you would be able to claim a bonus. You should also check whether the gambling operator offers excellent payouts, plenty of payment methods, stable software and functional mobile version. To help you make the best choice, we will discuss all of the aforementioned factors in the following paragraphs and will advise you on how to make sure that you have chosen the most convenient operator for you.
Gambling Licence & Safety in the US
Making sure that your chosen operator is safe and licensed should always be your top priority. Legal gambling online in the USA is still in a bit of a limbo, and there are many gray sites offering their services – but if they have not passed a reputable audit, registering can be dangerous. You can usually do so by checking whether it features certain gambling safety symbols at the footer of its homepage. Such may usually include the logos of the corresponding state’s gambling authorities, a license number and the logo of a reputable security firm. Additionally, you should also make sure that your chosen operator holds an SSL certificate with 256-bit encryption, which is the industry standard. Wondering what other safety symbols, you should look out for? Check out the list below to find out:
|ESSA||ESSA is a non-profit organization representing the interests of many of the largest betting operators in the world. ESSA’s main goal is to protect its customers, members and partners.|
|CDS||CDS or Central Disputes System is organization in charge of players’ claims and resolving issues between gambling sites and players.|
|GLI||Gaming Labs International provide first-class testing and certification service to the world gaming industry. The presence of their logo on a gambling site guarantess that all games are safe.|
|CFG||CFG or Certified Fair Gambling is one of the leading companies in auditing game fairness and safety. The presence of its logo on a gambling site would guarantee that all games on it are safe and fair.|
How to Spot a Great Product: Games and Bets
Once you have made sure that you have chosen a safe and secure gambling site, you must check what game catalog it offers. Remember that even if you count with a generous bonus offer, it will not be of much use unless you can choose among a good variety of games that you would love to play. Thus, we strongly recommend you to take a look at your chosen operator’s game selection before you sign up to it.
If you are playing at an online casino, you should check whether the available games are by your preferred software developer and whether you would be able to choose among lucrative slots, progressive jackpots and sufficient amount of table games. Meanwhile, online poker players must make sure that their chosen website offers plenty of rooms and tournaments to choose from. Similarly, if you engage in sports betting, online lottery or daily fantasy you should always check whether you have sufficient options to choose from before making your first deposit.
Best Gambling Bonuses in the USA
Whether you are a low or a high roller, the best online gambling sites in the USA offer you a wide range of options. Luckily for you, most operators nowadays offer lucrative welcome offers for their customers. Unfortunately, however, not all US online gambling sites can deliver the best conditions. Thus, even if the bonus amount looks impressive to you, we would not advise you to make a deposit and claim it, without having read the bonus terms and conditions. Bear in mind that bonuses are almost always tied to certain wagering conditions, which might occasionally be nearly impossible to complete. As a general rule, we recommend you avoid claiming bonuses that must be wagered more than 40 times and, in a period, shorter than 14 days. You should also only claim a bonus amount that you will be able to wager to avoid any unnecessary financial losses.
Gambling Sites with the Best Payouts
You might think that being successful at gambling is a matter of luck, but this is not always the case. Normally, there are various ways to strategically lower the house edge. To do so, however, you must be able to act logically and decide what would be your possibilities to be successful at a certain game. Calculating your chances of winning would often help you reduce losses and even make profits. You may do so by obtaining key information such as your operator’s payout track record and your game’s RTP.
Certain gambling sites may have their payout rates posted under terms and conditions. However, if this is not the case, we recommend you to consult our website to find out which operator has the highest payout. Meanwhile, finding out the RTP of a certain game is rather easy. If it is not listed in the game’s description, it would usually be announced under the game’s help section or terms and conditions. Bear in mind, however, that a high payout and RTP can only improve your chances of winning but cannot guarantee that you would make a profit.
Accepted Payment Methods
Once you have found a safe operator with a satisfying amount of games and good payout, you can confidently make your first deposit. Luckily, American players will not have issues with their deposits and withdrawals as most gambling sites in the US accept a long list of payment methods. You are free to choose the most convenient payment method for you, but we strongly recommend you to select the safest option.
Nowadays, e-wallets such as PayPal are considered the fastest and safest payment methods. Bear in mind, however, that not all of them would qualify for a welcome bonus. Thus, we advise you to always read the bonus terms and conditions prior to depositing any funds to your account. Wondering what are the most common payment methods that you may encounter? For your convenience, we have listed all payment methods accepted by the US online gambling sites:
- American Express
- Instant Bank Transfer
- Online Banking
- Wire Transfer
- VIP Preferred
Mobile Gambling Apps
The busy lifestyle has convinced many people to turn to online gambling in the United States instead of visiting the classic land-based casinos. Nevertheless, due to their hectic daily routines, many players cannot afford the time to sit in front of their laptops and open their favorite gambling sites. Seeking an alternative, many people have been led to the conclusion that mobile gambling is the perfect solution. Most US operators nowadays offer perfectly functional gambling apps, suitable for both iOS and Android phones. There are even social casino apps available for those who prefer free gameplay. Of course, however, certain mobile platforms will inevitably be better than others, which is why we strongly recommend you to always check the number of mobile-friendly games and the availability of mobile bonuses prior to choosing your mobile operator.
Safe & Fair Gambling Software
Finding an operator that offers a rich game catalog and generous bonuses would not guarantee you the best gambling experience unless your chosen site counts with stable software. There are many software developers but onlya few leading providers in the gambling industry. They stand out with exceptional quality and functionality and include names such as Playtech, Microgaming, and OpenBet, among others. Most operators would provide explicit information about their software platform in the footer of their homepage. Alternatively, you can check under terms and conditions or contact the corresponding operator’s support team and request additional information. Meanwhile, to help you recognize the quality software, in the table below we have listed the leading gambling software, currently used in the US:
|Gambling Type||Best Gambling Software||Other Popular Software|
|Daily Fantasy||NetSet||GAN Software|
|Online Poker||Playtech||iPoker Network|
US Gambling Laws & Regulations
The gambling laws in the US are rather complicated and sometimes difficult to understand due to the fact that they are state-based and often different for each type of real money gambling. Almost every state, however, have either legalized or allowed a certain form of gambling. The most liberal states are New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania where players can enjoy practically every type of online gambling.
Meanwhile, on 14 May 2018, the US Supreme Court overruled the 1992 statute called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and allowed each state to decide whether sports betting should be legalized within its borders. A few states have taken legal actions since then, while others have opted out for keeping the ban on sports betting. The US gambling laws, however, are much more complicated and in order to understand them better, we recommend you to take a look at the following topics:
Is Online Gambling Legal in the US ?
Technically, almost every type of online gambling is legal in a certain state. We cannot, however, generalize and make legal assumptions for the whole country. For example, as we mentioned above, rightfully all states are allowed to legalize real money sports betting within their borders but not all of them have decided to do so. For more information, on the legal online gambling situation in each state, please take a look at our regional gambling laws section.
Land-Based Resorts in the USA
US gamblers, of course, are not restricted to playing online only. Certain US states such as Nevada and New Jersey offer excellent brick-and-mortar casinos and resorts. Nevertheless, your options are certainly not restricted to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, even though both locations guarantee a fun and excellent gambling experience. Shall you wish, you can also visit the land-based casinos in Mississippi, California, and Florida, among others. West Virginia, on the other hand, may have a limited number of casinos but they are located in some of the state’s most popular resorts like Greenbrier. After all, the US is known as one of the biggest gambling markets in the world for a reason. Need help to find the best gambling brands in the country? You can find them listed below:
- Caesars Entertainment Corporation – an American gaming corporation based in Nevada that owns and operates over 50 casinos and hotels.
- MGM Resorts International – one of the biggest American global hospitality and entertainment companies, owns some of the biggest casinos resorts in the US including Belaggio, MGM Grand and The Mirage.
- Las Vegas Sands Corp – the highest grossing casino company in the world, owning some of the biggest and most popular casino resorts in the US.
Of course, players can find many more impressive casino resorts spread throughout the country. If you are planning to embark on a casino adventure in a certain state, we advise you to consult our corresponding state guide, where you can find all you must know about its gambling laws, important details, and of course, recommended land-based gambling venues. Remember that some games might be illegal in certain states, which is why you must always familiarize yourself with the local gambling laws to avoid potential legal issues.
Regional Gambling Laws & Differences Between States
As we have already mentioned the US gambling laws do not apply to every state. Instead, each state has the option to decide which type of real money gambling to allow within its borders. Bear in mind, however, that due to legal loopholes certain types of gambling may operate unregulated in some states. In such occasion, however, the players’ safety would not be guaranteed by the state authorities. To help you understand the US regional gambling laws, in the table below we have listed the legal status for every state. We must note that the information below applies to online gambling only and that certain types of land-based gambling might be allowed in states where their online version is forbidden.
Official Regulatory Body
Who monitors online gambling in the United States? That’s a tricky question. Each state with an active gambling industry would have its own official gambling authority. The local regulatory bodies would usually be in charge of issuing licenses, regulating the different operators and taking important decisions regarding the local gambling industry. Nevertheless, the main authority responsible for taking decisions that apply to all states is the Supreme Court of the United States. For your convenience, we have prepared a list with the main information about it in the table below.
|Address||1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543, USA|
|Contact Form on the website|
|Active Since||March 4, 1789|
|Key Persons||John Roberts|
Gambling Taxation: What Happens to Your Winnings in the USA?
All gambling winnings in the US are taxable. In theory this means that online gambling for real money in the USA would not give you the maximum profit available. Legally, gambling or wagering financial profits are considered taxable by the Internal Revenue Service. Generally speaking, all such incomes are a subject of a 25% flat tax. Nevertheless, in certain circumstances, a backup withholding of 28% might be required instead. However, if a tax is withheld from your real money winnings, you will be sent a Form W2-G from the payer. According to US laws, players also have the right to deduct their losses as long as they itemize their deductions. Bear in mind, however, that losses can be deducted only up to the amount of the total winnings. All winnings and losses must be reported separately.
Legal Gambling Age
|Gambling Type||Legal Gambling Age|
|Sports Betting||18 – 21+|
|Casino||18 – 21+|
|Daily Fantasy||18 – 21+|
The legal gambling age in the United States might vary according to each state but it would generally be between 18 and 21. For example, in most areas players must be aged over 21 like in the state of Iowa in order to partake in any type of gambling like a land-based casino or to play online casino games. Same rules apply for sports betting, poker, and daily fantasy. In most states, players must be over 21 to participate in any of the aforementioned types of gambling. When it comes to the lottery, however, in most states the minimum gambling age is 18. Bear in mind that anyone underage caught participating in any gambling activity would be guilty of a criminal offense and may face certain legal repercussions. We have provided explicit information about each state’s legal gambling situation and minimal gambling age.
Even though there is no federal law that specifically prohibits online gambling advertising, the government has hinted that it may pursue charges against those promoting any type of gambling. Title 18 of the United States Code § 2 states that “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.”. Therefore, anyone advertising or inducing people to engage in the gambling industry may face legal charges – even for the legal online gambling sector in the USA.
On the other hand, advertisers in the United States enjoy a certain freedom of speech under the First Amendment defense focusing on the right to disseminate commercial speech. Moreover, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the government cannot regulate speech about gambling as much as it can control the industry itself. Thus, technically speaking, the advertisement of gambling in states where it is legally allowed should be free of legal repercussions. Shall you need more information or have any doubts, please consult the website of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Penalties for Illegal Gambling
In the past decades, gambling used to be a crime in almost all states with the exception of Nevada and New Jersey. Luckily, many states have managed to legalize various types of gambling in recent years. Nevertheless, most states still have laws that explicitly prohibit at least one type of gambling. Engaging in such activities is often considered a criminal offense, subject of certain legal charges.
Illegal gambling or any activities that have to do with it are usually punishable by state law and the corresponding legal penalty would usually depend on the charges. The most commonly outlawed types of gambling are the ones that involve a bet, the games of chance and the chance of winning. As we mentioned above, however, all states criminalize gambling to some extent but they would have different penalties for all gambling crimes. Generally speaking, however, gambling could be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation and state law. In the list below you can find the most commonly applied penalties for gambling-related crimes.
- Imprisonment – Anyone convicted of misdemeanor gambling could be imprisoned for up to a year in a county or local jail. Nevertheless, state laws vary and some state would impose a bigger sentence than 20 days in jail. On the other hand, felony convictions, depending on their type can bring up to 10 years of imprisonment.
- Fines – Fines for misdemeanor gambling are quite common and could usually go up to $1,000. Meanwhile, fines for felony gambling could sometimes be as high as $20,000 depending on the conviction and the state law. Bear in mind that fines could be separate or in addition to an imprisonment sentence.
- Probation – Occasionally the state court might decide to impose probation in addition to or instead of fines and jail time. Probations would usually last 12 months or more. When a court order probation, you are asked to do certain things or restricted from others. In terms of gambling, you might be asked to stop participating in any gambling activities for a certain period of time or to enroll in a gambling addiction treatment program. You would usually have to report to a probation officer and stay away from legal issues. Shall you fail to follow your probation conditions, the judge may revoke your probation and order you to serve the original sentence.
Upcoming Regulation Changes
In January 2019, the US Government took the decision to reverse the 2011 interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act. According to the opinion that was originally issued, the Wire Act only banned sports betting. Nevertheless, according to a 23-page opinion by the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, the act was misinterpreted and was referring to all forms of online gambling. The new reading of the law, however, will probably be tested in courts as judges might challenge the government’s point of view.
Meanwhile, the new interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act could affect negatively the whole online gambling industry. It could harm online casinos and states that sell online lottery tickets. While the new legal change will not affect the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to legalize sports betting, it could harm the exemption between the states of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey that allows people from those states to play poker against each other. We will continue to follow the issue and will keep you up to date.
Responsible Gambling & Addiction Prevention
Gambling addiction is a serious condition that could affect anyone. Many people, who see gambling as a fun, harmless diversion can gradually develop an unhealthy obsession that could ruin their lives. Luckily, nowadays exist many support group and qualified specialists, able to treat such problems and help people regain control of their lives. If you live in the USA, you can turn to The National Council on Problem Gambling. You can contact via chat or via their 24-hour helpline at 1-800-522-4700. The professional advisers will recommend you the adequate therapy for your condition, available at the state where you reside. Alternatively, you can also explore the useful links on responsible gambling that we have prepared for you:
Online Gambling in the USA Trivia – Curious Facts
Gambling is one of the most lucrative industries in the USA. American casinos register annual profits of approximately $125 billion, while each US citizen loses around $400 on gambling each year. Another interesting, yet concerning fact is that in 2012 there were an estimated 5.77 million people in need of treatment for gambling addiction. Many of them received help in U.S. state-funded problem gambling treatment programs. However, the statistics are likely to remain the same as at least one form of gambling is available at each state with the exception of Hawaii and Idaho among others. Nevertheless, the US government’s attempts to restrict online gambling continue as according to statistics approximately 4 to 6 percent of high school students have developed a gambling addiction and another 10 to 14 percent are at risk of doing so.
History of Gambling in the US
The US gambling industry is constantly growing and developing. Nevertheless, the US government still has conservative views towards certain forms of gambling. All legal aspects, however, derive from a long gambling history. Have you ever wondered how it all started? The gambling industry has always been a part of US history, including from the time when Columbus’ ships were sailing towards the continent. In the timetable below, we have selected and listed the most important moments of the US gambling history from 1492 when the first games of chance were played to 2018 when the US Supreme Court allowed the legalization of sports betting in all US states.
|1492||According to many theories and history textbooks, games of chance were played on Columbus’ ships and were eventually introduced on American land.|
|1612||King James I of England creates a lottery to provide funds for Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent British settlement in North America. Lotteries were later held throughout the colonies.|
|1638||The puritans of Massachusetts introduced the first law against gambling. Their reaction was in opposition to the Europeans who introduced various gambling games to America.|
|1682||The devout Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania introduced a law against gambling within the state borders.|
|October 1774||The Continental Congress of the North American colonies issues the Articles of Association, claiming that colonist must discourage all species of horse racing, cock fighting and exhibitions of shews.|
|1176||The American Revolutionary War was partially financed by the sale of lottery tickets. Of course, as we have mentioned, the contribution was only partial, but yet standed against the idea that the lottery should fund noble causes only.|
|1700-1800s||New Orleans becomes the gambling mecca, even at times when gambling was illegal. The state has kept its proactive attitude towards gambling and throughout the years has managed to become on the leading gaming destinations in the US.|
|1806||Louisiana established a prohibition against gambling across the whole state, except in New Orleans.Logically, the actions led to an extreme grow of the gambling activities in the city, since it was the only place in the state where it was legal.|
|1823||Louisiana legalizes various forms of gambling and licenses a number of gambling venues in New Orleans. The city kept taxing and licensing casinos. All taxation profits were donated to charities.|
|1830||America bans all lotteries. The law stays in power until 1860 when the country liberalizes its attitude towards lotteries and allows som e of them to operate legally.|
|1830s||Almost all states outlaw gambling in public places. However, certain exceptions were allowed for “respectable gentlemen”.|
|1835||The licensing act is repealed. However, casino-type gambling continues to grow and prosper. It also become available at riverboats travelling the Mississippi River.|
|1800-1850s||The Jacksonian era. Certain gambling scandals and conservative views lead to the outlawing of most forms of gambling in the US.|
|1840s||Lotteries are banned in most Southern states. Nevertheless, the lotteries’ legal status in most of them changed throughout the years. Yet, even nowadays, many Southern states, still ban most forms of gambling.|
|1860||Lotteries are allowed again. They become available in many states and generate a good amount of profits.|
|1861-1865||The Civil War harms riverboat gambling, which had proven to be cost-effective and rather popular gambling activity. Yet, it once agains becomes a coveted activity after the Civil War.|
|1862||Kansas and Missouri are the only states with legal lotteries. Consequently, both states register satisfactory profits from the sales of lottery tickets.|
|1900s||All state lotteries are shut down by federal law. The sales of lottery tickets becomes illegal in all states and any illegal lotto-related activities are prosecuted by the law.|
|1908||Horse racing is banned in nearly every state. Still, 25 tracks remained in operation. By 1910, the only states that had legal horce racing were Maryland and Kentucky.|
|1910||Nevada outlaws gambling. the law was introduced in 1909 but did not take effect until 1910. The ban, however, was only temporary and nowdays Nevada is one of the leading gambling locations in the world.|
|1913||New York legalizes pari-mutuel betting, and many other states follow suit. The country, however, could not support as many as 314 race-tracks once again.|
|1930s||Many states legalize horse racing and charitable gambling. They both register rather high profits and an increased public interest.|
|1931||A legislature makes casino gambling legal again. Commercial gambling is also legalized in Nevada and referred to as referred to as the “Wide Open Gambling Bill.”.|
|April 1931||The first gambling licenses are issued in Las Vegas. The city starts gaining popularity as an attractive gambling destination and attracts players from all over the country.|
|1941||The first big casino – El Rancho is opened in Las Vegas on what would later be known as The Strip. Some sources claim that the casino was build in 1940 by Southern Californian Thomas Hull.|
|1945||The state of Nevada passes the Gaming Revenue Tax as a consequence to the constantly growing public interest and increased gambling revenues.|
|1946||New Hampshire is the first state to make lottery legal again. A special election allows the resients of the state to vote for or against the sale of Sweepstakes tickets.|
|1955||Nevada Gaming Control is established within the Nevada Tax Commission. The agency takes the responsibilty to license and regulate all gambling venues in the state.|
|1959||The Nevada Control Act is passe, establishing the Nevada Gaming Commission, which acts upon the recommendation of the state’s Gaming Control Board.|
|1967||The Nevada State Legislature changes the law to make it easier for corporations to own gambling venues. Public companies are allowed to own and operate gambling facilities without the need to licence each share holder.|
|1978||The first legal casino outside of Nevada opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Resorts International becomes the first casino hotel in the state when it welcomes its first guests on May 26, 1978.|
|1970-1980s||More states legalize and launch their own lotteries. A total of 17 state lotteries are in operation by the end of 1983. Most of them register a satisfactory amount of profits.|
|1988||The first multistate lottery starts operating. The association launches its first game called Lotto America in February, 1988. The game is later changed to Poweball.|
|1988||The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, passed by Congress allows Native American Tribes to open their own casinos on their reservations as long as the states in which they are located allow legalized gambling.|
|1992||The multistate lottery is officially known as Powerball. The Multi-State Lottery Association introduces the draw as an unqiue game using two drums.|
|2000||California voters pass Proposition 1A, which aimed to permit Native American Tribes to operate slot machines, lottery games etc.|
|2006||The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 makes it illegal for banks and financial institutions to facilitate transactions from US players to gambling sites. As a result, many sites stop accepting customers from the US.|
|2018||The United States Supreme Court issues its decision that The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional, and all states should be allowed to legalize sports betting within their borders.|
Famous Land-Based Casino and Gambling Resorts
Online gambling might still be gaining popularity, but when it comes to land-based casinos, the US is probably the country with the best-developed gambling industry. As you might be aware, the best brick-and-mortar casinos and resorts in the country are located in Las Vegas. The Sin City welcomes both low and high-rollers, promises a great time and a wide variety of games. However, if for some reason Las Vegas is not your cup of tea, you can head to Atlantic City, the other gambling mecca of the US. Of course, those are not your only options as you will most likely find a casino in every state. Looking for the best? Check our list below to find out which are the biggest US casinos and the most famous gambling resorts in the US.
- The Bellaggio – Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Bellaggio is one of the most famous and biggest casinos in the world. It has an unique atmosphere and promises excellent experience.
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the gambling venture is one of the most popular and visited casinos in the country.
- The Venetian – the biggest land-based casino in Las Vegas, the brand is well-known among the whole of the USA.
- WinStar World Casino & Resort – Located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, WinStar Casino & Resort is the biggest casino resort in the country.
- Foxwoods Resort Casino – Located in Mashantucket, Connecticut and boasting with 340,000 sq.f. of gaming space, the gambling venture is one of the biggest in the world.
- Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino – Located on the Las Vegas Strip, the resort is one of the most visited gambling venues in the country.
- ARIA Resort & Casino – A luxurious casino resort, located in Las Vegas, positively reviewed by many websites.
Famous Gamblers and Poker Players from the USA
Online gambling might not be available everywhere in the US but being the country with the biggest gambling cities such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the USA has managed to see the rising of many poker and blackjack stars. Many of the famous American gamblers have represented the country in a series of important tournaments, online contests, and organized casino games. Undoubtedly, they are also known all over the world and have so far earned millions of dollars playing poker or other games. Wondering which are the most famous gamblers and poker players from the USA? Check out the list below to find out.
- Erik Seidel – Professional poker player from Las Vegas, Nevada who has won numerous tournaments including The World Poker Tour.
- Phil Ivey – Ivey is one of the most famous poker players in the world. He has won n World Series of Poker bracelets, one World Poker Tour title among others. His estimated net worth is over $100 million.
- Amarillo Slim – was a professional American gambler with notorious poker skills and known for his proposition bets.
- Billy Walters – a professional gambler from Munfordville, Kentucky, United States, Walter is known for being one of the most successful sports gamblers in Vegas, Nevada. He has an estimated net worth of $100 million.
American Gambling Books and Movies
As we have already established, gambling has been an essential part of American life and culture for centuries. Thus, it comes as little surprise that certain forms of art such as film and literature have decided to immortalize the essence of gambling by representing it in various works. If you would love to watch an interesting gambling movie or read a good book on gambling, please take a look at the list below:
- 21 (2008) – an American heist drama that revolves around the life Ben Campbell, a brilliant student who joins a blackjack team.
- Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie tells the story of Danny Ocean, an ex-convict who together with his crew orchestrates the most sophisticated and intelligent casino heist in the history.
- Casino (1995) – a classic gambling movie featuring Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. DeNiro’s character Sam “Ace” Rothstein is sent to Las Vegas to run the Tangiers Casino on behalf of the Chicago Outfit.
- Mississippi Grind (2015) – tells the gambling journey of Gerry and his new friend Curtis, portrayed by Ben Mendelson and Ryan Reynolds, respectively.
- Runner Runner (2015) – a movie featuring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. It tells the story of the Princeton grad student Richie, who travel to Costa Rica to meet Ivan Block, the owner of one of the biggest gambling sites.
- The Mental Game of Poker: Proven Strategies for Improving Tilt Control, Confidence, Motivation, Coping with Variance, and More – Authors: Jared Tendler, Barry Carter
- Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One – Author: Edward O. Thorp
- The Winners Guide to Casino Gambling – Author: Edwin Silberstang
- Dice Angel – Author: Brian Rouff
- Gambling 102: The Best Strategies for All Casino Games – Author: Michael Shackleford
Online Gambling vs Land-Based Gambling in the USA
Whether you prefer online or land-based gaming, you will soon find that both forms of gambling have their advantages and disadvantages. While you can enjoy online gambling from your home or even on the go, you will, unfortunately, find that what types of gambling you have access to, would depend mainly on the state you live in. Meanwhile, if you would rather visit brick-and-mortar casinos, you will most likely find suitable venues in almost every state. Nevertheless, the best gambling locations in the US would clearly still be Las Vegas and Atlantic City. If you still prefer to play online, you can consult our regional table and check whether your favorite type of gambling is available at your state.
Conclusion: Looking Forward to The Future
Gambling online in the USA is still in the WIld Wild West phase – there are a lot of legislative troubles, and the country-wide ban has created more problems than it solved. There appears to be a growing shift towards a more flexible policy, since regulating the operators and ensuring they offer a responsible service is a better solution than forcing gambling fans into playing at disreputable sites. We expect that soon we will have gathered enough data to offer you a complete overview of the top online gambling sites in the USA; our long-term goal is to give you a full picture of the legal options that are becoming available for the US fans out there.
More Useful Guides and Interesting Articles
We hope that you found our guide on US gambling helpful. Need more information? If so, check our website as we have plenty of gambling guides, reviews, and informative articles. We constantly follow the gambling news and stay up to date with the latest changes in the gambling industry. Eager to read some of our most popular guides and articles? We have listed some of them below as well as the latest gambling news.