Is betting legal in the US? All you need to know about the US gambling laws!


Gambling was once upon a time a taboo subject. People were loath to talk about it because it was considered “immoral”. Nowadays we have made a lot of progress in terms of discussing gambling as a social phenomenon. It’s no longer a taboo subject. Sure, there are the dangers of becoming addicted to gambling but, in general, people really take it as an enjoyable activity for downtime. That being said, there are a lot of questions about the legality of gambling. And this goes especially for the United States of America. You might be wondering what’s the legal situation in the US when it comes to gambling. Read this article and you will find out.

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Casino gambling

There is no federal law in the United States that prohibits gambling in general. The individual states are left to their own devices when it comes to implementing laws about gambling. So, the vast majority of the states in the USA make casino gambling fully legal. There are only two exceptions to this rule – and they are the states of Utah and Hawaii. If you happen to go to these countries, then you should know that gambling is fully illegal and that you won’t be able to find places where you can gamble legally. Apart from that, there are fully legal casinos all over the territory of the United States of America. So, you can feel free to knock yourself out. The gambling haven in the USA is to be found in the city of Las Vegas. This city is known all around the world as the capital of gambling. You’ll be able to find some of the biggest casinos in the world in this city. You also need to remember that casinos need to have state-issued licenses. If a casino doesn’t have a gambling license, then it means that its operations are shady and illegal.

But you may also wonder whether you can place bets in online casinos as you can do so in real-world casinos. It’s fully legal to play online gambling games in online casinos, except for a few states. In these states, there are laws that prohibit the residents to place any kinds of bets online. And these states are Washington, Montana, Oregon, Louisiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. These countries have legislation that bans any form of online gambling for their residents – and this goes despite any federal law that may state otherwise. If you’re a resident of these countries, then you won’t be able to place your bets online. Apart from these countries – you can do online betting at online casinos fully legally. However, you need to make sure that the website and casino in question have licenses to operate under particular jurisdictions. If you find no traces of such license, then it’s a red flag symbol and you should be very cautious when it comes to playing online on that particular casino’s website.


Poker is a highly popular form of gambling where players compete against one another based on the strength of the cards that they hold in their hands. It’s a game of thinking, skills, psychology, math, but also of luck. There are a lot of misconceptions about whether the game of poker is legal in the United States. As things stand right now, the game of online poker is regulated in four countries in the USA – Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t really play online poker if you’re not living or staying in these countries. The reason for the misconceptions is the complexity of the laws that are brought up – and their faulty interpretation by the public. And the same goes for real-world poker as well. If you want to play a real-world game of poker, then you can visit any casino that has a poker room and a license to hold poker games. The fact of the matter is that poker really falls out of favor in many casinos because of the fact that the casinos don’t take a lot of money for it. But it goes without saying that if you want to play the game of poker – you can do so almost freely.

There was an issue with the so-called Black Friday when the organs of the state seized the assets of some of the biggest poker websites in the country and in the world, like Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker. They were charged with bank fraud and money laundering. To this day, these two websites don’t offer online poker services to the residents of the United States of America, except for online poker with “play money”. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other websites where you can enjoy yourself while playing some online poker at your own leisure and discretion.

In fact, at one point there was a debate at the highest level on whether the game of poker is a game of skill or of luck. Most poker players would agree that luck has almost nothing to do with success in the game of poker in the long run. But there are still some persistent misconceptions about the nature of the game of poker and how it’s allegedly all based on luck. But in the end, at the legal level, it was concluded that the game of poker is a game of skill and not of luck. Hence, this is a game that shouldn’t even be considered as a gambling game in general.


There was a time when online bingo was prohibited in the United States. Back then, people were only able to play bingo on off-shore websites that were allowed by law to host bingo games. But nowadays this is changing and bingo is a game that you can once again play online. The fact of the matter is that bingo was often thought of a gambling game of lower popularity. This meant that many of the online casinos only offered a subsection for bingo games. But nowadays the popularity of bingo is at an all-time high. This means that there are many specialized online websites that work only with bingo. If you visit some of these licensed websites where you can play a game of bingo legally – you will see that there are many special offers and promotions that you can enjoy using. So, it’s up to you to find some of the best online websites that offer you to play the game of bingo in the United States of America.


Sports betting was considered illegal all throughout the territory of the United States of America up until 2018. In fact, only four countries had full support for legal sports betting in the US. These were Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. The reason as to why these countries where exempt from the ban of sports betting is that they had managed to make it legal in their countries before the bans. And to this very day, these are among the only few countries that give sports bettors the opportunity to bet on sports events – whether in real-world betting places or on the internet.

However, this looks like it’s about to change soon. There is legislation coming up in different states of the USA that legalize sports betting. However, you shouldn’t celebrate ahead of time. There is firm opposition to sports betting being finally legalized all around the United States of America. A lot of it comes from ordinary people that don’t like sports betting to be legal. A lot of it comes from powerful businesses and corporations. So, it seems that there will be a lengthy battle in the United States before sports betting becomes legal state-wide. That being said, if you wish to do some fully legal sports betting, then the aforementioned countries where it’s legal are always within your choice. As a reminder, these four countries were Oregon, Nevada, Montana, and Delaware.

Horse Racing

Horse racing betting is a very popular form of betting all around the world. The name speaks for itself and it means that people bet on various events where horses race with one another. It’s as simple as that. Unlike for the many other forms of gambling, the field of horse racing betting is a lot less complicated subject. The fact of the matter is that you can do horse racing betting fully legally in most of the states of the USA. So, you have full freedom to place your bets on various events in the United States. There are two conditions for this, though. The first is that the state where you will place your horse racing bet has legalized horse racing betting. The second condition is that the receiving and paying country of your placed bet also needs to have horse racing fully legalized.

But these two conditions are not really a problem. The reason for this is that most states enable you to bet on horses fully legally. You’ll need to do some research as to the countries that don’t allow horse racing as a legal avenue of conduct, but for the most part, you won’t have any issues with betting on horses, regardless if it’s online or in the real world. It’s a little funny how you can place bets of over $10,000 dollar at the horse races, but you may have issues with placing a $2 bet on a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. But this is up for debate. For now, we advise you to enjoy yourself over betting on a horse race event.

There are a number of online horse racing betting websites that give you the opportunity to do some horse racing betting. Some of them are TVG, BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and many others. Be sure to check them out if you’re interested in doing some horse racing betting.


The Wire Act complicated things in the field of online gambling. However, when it comes to the subject of lotto – it was deemed by authorities as not held by the rules of the notorious Wire Act. So, this gives you the freedom to do as much lotto betting as you may want. The fact of the matter is that 47 jurisdictions in the United States of America have state endorsed lotteries. And the best thing about it is that in most cases, you don’t even need to be a resident of a particular state in order to play the lottery and grab your winnings. You do need to remember that all your winnings will get taxed by the state – there is no way to legally evade this hurdle. But in the end, if you win the lottery you may become a millionaire and you won’t care at all about paying the tax. The main point is that you can freely place bets on the lotteries in the United States.

In conclusion

The United States of America is an amalgam of over 50 different states that span a vast space on the continent. And it goes without saying that the people in these states will have differing opinions on various subjects. One of the most controversial subjects of the date is the subject of gambling. While it’s true that there is a trend of liberalization in the field of gambling – it’s also true that many people would much rather prefer for gambling to be entirely banned.

That being said, there are many different countries in the USA where you can enjoy indulging in state-regulated gambling. And there are a few places where gambling isn’t really allowed. If you’re a gambler at heart, then you’d do well to visit some of the gambling havens in the United States of America – a prime example of this would be the city of Las Vegas where many different forms of gambling are allowed. Apart from that, we hope that you will remember that gambling is potentially highly addictive. It’s very important to gamble responsibly and only you can take responsibility for doing this and not overindulging yourself with gambling.

State by state laws for horse racing, casino, betting and fantasy

StateHorse RacingSports BettingFantasyCasino
New HampshireYNYN
New JerseyNYYY
New MexicoYNYN
New YorkYNYN
North CarolinaNNYN
North DakotaYNYN
Rhode IslandYYYN
South CarolinaNNYN
South DakotaYNYN
West VirginiaYYYN
Puerto RicoYNNN

You now are aware of what states gambling is legal.