UPDATED ON: by James Worden


Gambling laws the USAWhen we think about casinos, Las Vegas is one of the first places to mind. The flickering lights and extravagant buildings across the city can be misleading. Those observing the lively scene in Las Vegas may think that gambling is allowed all over the country. Yet, the reality is much more complicated than that. Come with us as we guide you through the maze of American gambling laws.

The Word of Law

There are 50 states in the United States, and each one of them is free to create its laws. Naturally, such diversity makes conflicting laws between states and even within states. Although charitable casinos are accepted in 48 states, commercial casinos are only allowed in 23 states. It means that the casino bonuses in Pennsylvania arenโ€™t necessarily valid for residents of other states.

Here are the states allowing commercial land-based casinos.

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Notice, though, that online gambling is even more restricted. Only six states have legalised the activity: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia. Meanwhile, seven other states are passing new laws to legalise gambling on the internet. These are Nevada, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, California.

The Situation in Each State

There are differences and restrictions even among the states where gambling faces more favourable laws. Check below whatโ€™s allowed and what isnโ€™t in each state. Additionally, have a look at the best platforms available to American players.


Pennsylvania is one of the friendliest states for gamblers. Here, players can safely enjoy horse betting, sportsbooks, virtual poker, online casinos, and daily fantasy sports (DFS). The legalisation came with the Expanded Gaming Act from 2017.

New Jersey

The Garden State is one of the pioneers of gambling legislation. Unsurprisingly, itโ€™s also the state with the most advanced and friendliest laws on the issue. Like in Pennsylvania, residents can enjoy horse betting, sportsbooks, poker, DFS, and of course, online casinos.

West Virginia

Virtual casinos must have partnerships with land-based ones located in the Mountain State. Currently, there are five land-based casinos in the state. Online platforms must align with them to get a licence. The effort to legalise online gambling began in 2018. The activity was completely legalised in 2019. Residents of West Virginia can enjoy all forms of online gambling mentioned above.


The Great Lakes State has approved online gambling in 2019, but itโ€™s still a very regulated market. Gambling on bonds, stocks, and grains isnโ€™t allowed in the states, and all players must be above 21 to join an online casino. Besides these restrictions, online gambling is legal in the state.


Delaware legalised sports betting in 1992. Yet, the legalisation of online gambling was only permitted in 2002, provided it was done from inside a land-based casino. Since 2017, more online gambling activities have been permitted. The First State now offers online casinos online sportsbooks on top of land-based venues.


The Constitution State is slowly introducing online gambling in the state. Only two online casinos are legally available to residents: DraftKings and Mohegan Sun. Yet, as the thumbs-up only came last year, no casino has been launched so far. The CT Lottery canโ€™t run a casino, but it can offer online sports betting.


Gambling Laws Differ Across the United States of America

Although gambling laws in the United States can be confusing, gambling is allowed in one way or another in almost all states. Only Utah and Hawaii keep the activity altogether banned. In Utah, gambling faces strong opposition from the numerous Mormon communities. In Hawaii, authorities fear that land-based casinos can lead to destructive tourism.

Online gambling isnโ€™t illegal under federal laws. Yet, if you want to make sure youโ€™re playing on a legal online casino in your region, research your local restrictions first.