Is Online Gambling Legal in the United States?

The legality of gambling in the USA varies from one state to another. That’s why there’s no certain answer to the question “Is gambling illegal in the US?”. And that’s why it’s even harder to say whether is online gambling legal. It’s just too complicated, as each particular situation needs to be taken separately according to the circumstances and state’s laws.

Also, don’t forget that we’re talking about the legality of actions on the Internet here. We all know how awkward the law can be when it runs into online activities. For example, people who are only getting into how to gamble can easily google “online casino USA” and receive thousands of results. 

There are countless options for online casino gambling, but nobody ensures the security and presence of licenses, which can often lead to disappointing situations. That’s why in this article, we’ll try to find out where and why is gambling illegal, as well as elaborate on some complications.

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Federal Law

As we all know, federal law has more power than state laws and their constitutions. After all, it’s called federal for a reason. So, there’s not a single federal law that prohibits gambling in the whole country. That means the answer to the question “Is gambling illegal?” is no. It’s not banned by federal law, therefore, not illegal. As simple as that.

However, there may be some intricate and almost impossible-to-encounter situations when gambling is against the law. For example, it’s not allowed to gamble on the border between states. Basically, you can’t have a gambling table split by the border in half, as it technically would be present in both states. Yes, it sounds as ridiculous as it is, but it does have a rationale.

Speaking about online casino companies, it’s still not forbidden by federal law to know how to gamble and practice that activity. Now, you may think that the answer to the question “Is online gambling legal?” is yes. But in fact, it’s only half-legal. How is it even possible?

Well, a certain Act from 2006 states that it’s illegal to operate online gambling companies in the US. That means, as long as your online casino USA works in this country, it’s against the law. It doesn’t mean your customers can’t play it, though. An easy workaround is to just offshore the website itself, say, to the Bahamas (not the best location for servers) or Southern America (better location for servers).

You’ll be able to operate the platform remotely, and American citizens will be legally allowed to use such services. Placing wagers and playing in online casinos isn’t actually forbidden. It’s just that you can’t operate one on the territory of some states.

Now, let’s speak about another important aspect – betting. Bets on professional sports have never been out of law. However, in 1992, a law made it impossible for states to legalize professional betting on sports in the future. It was canceled only three years ago, in 2018, in the law that allowed each state to make their own decisions whether to make betting legal or not.

And just when you might think that it’s all, there’s one more thing to take into account – fantasy sports. Technically, it could still be considered gambling. But luckily enough, it was decided to be an exception in the 2006 Act mentioned earlier. Speaking about the reasons why is gambling illegal, there’s no answer. But at least now we can proceed to state laws, which make things a bit clearer.

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State Law

Let’s get to the state laws that either ban online casino gambling, allow it, or keep in that awkward undecided middle ground. So, except for Hawaii and Utah, 48 of 50 United States of America recognize gambling as legal in one form or another. That doesn’t mean you’re allowed to do everything you want in an online casino. But at least now you know where is gambling illegal.

On the other side, there’s Nevada, which is known for being the heaven for gamblers. Yes, the famous Las Vegas is located in this state. In Nevada, you can gamble legally almost anywhere, provided the enterprise has all the licenses and follows all the regulations.

But as mentioned before, other states ban some particular forms of gambling while allowing others. In New Jersey, for example, casino games and sports betting are legal, but everything else is forbidden. In some states, gambling may even be forbidden or allowed on particular lands.

Answering the question “Where is online gambling legal,” it’s the same state-by-state situation. For instance, New Jersey, West Virginia, Michigan, and Delaware allow online casinos and online poker. The first three also legalized online sports betting, but in Delaware, it’s against the law.

In Illinois, Virginia, Iowa, and Oregon, online sports betting is fully legal. However, online casino USA companies and online poker services are illegal. But again, keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that citizens of these states can’t gamble online. They can do it legally on foreign websites.

So, when looking for legal online gambling options, your best bet is to pick casinos that operate from different countries or even neighboring states. There’s no chance you’ll run into any issues by doing so, and even if you do, proving and taking such cases to court is almost impossible. 

Also, better research the laws of each state carefully, as there may be some exceptions regarding certain games or types of gambling. But to make sure everything is 100% safe, contact professional lawyers and get a consultation. This way, you can always be sure whether is online gambling illegal in your state at the moment or not.

That’s because some laws can be changed in the course of years or even months. And the information about these changes can sometimes not be available on the Internet.



As you can probably see now, the whole industry and its legality are horribly awkward. What may be normal in one state is forbidden in another; that’s a usual situation for the USA. But the real trouble is the categorization of online gambling platforms and the legality of various forms in different states.

Just like said before, it’s always better to contact specialists when trying to find an answer to the question “Is online gambling legal in my state?”. They always know what’s the current situation in the law sphere and can give some advice. Their experience can also help avoid possible issues or solve already existing ones.

Generally speaking, an Internet casino owner should always keep lawyers close to themselves. The laws can change rapidly, and the local governments can always find some details in your licensing that don’t go well with their vision of legality.

The hardest thing is to find software providers that will offer you games for your online casino. It doesn’t matter how well you know how to gamble or how insane your business portfolio is. Some vendors will refuse to sell their games to you just because you live in the US, where the legality of online gambling is always uncertain.

Countless international companies pulled out of the US many years ago because of all this nonsense. They are ready to lose all the potential profits from this huge market just to stay away from all the possible complications and law enforcement.

Yet, it also created a niche for some vendors to put their products on the market. Those who aren’t afraid to sell to US online casinos and the ones that are 100% in their paperwork easily occupy the whole market, getting huge profits from it.

Another thing that must be mentioned is affiliate programs. They appeared as a response to this ridiculous situation. What they do is let you enjoy the online casino experience without worrying about its legality. It’s sort of a VPN, but for gambling.

They usually offer huge bonuses, like free virtual money or free spins. And due to them being not US companies, they aren’t required to have licensing or almost any documents. But keep in mind that it’s exactly why they shouldn’t be trusted easily. Becoming too careless while gambling through such affiliate websites could cost you a pretty penny.

Final Words

So, back to where we began, is online gambling legal? Check out your state’s law and get the answer because there’s just no other option than that. Why is gambling illegal in some states? There are many reasons for that, including the safety of citizens’ data and money or even traditions. These reasons also make online gambling illegal in some states.

But how does an Internet casino even survive in this harsh environment? That’s probably the first question in this article that has a certain answer to it. Most companies that are involved with real gambling online hire professional marketing specialists from Develux. These experts know everything about making a website popular, considering how good they’re at providing SEO casino services and how important it is for a site to be in organic results.

All in all, casino gambling would be impossible without the people who pay money for it. And to get customers, you always need something to attract them with. With professional SEO casino services, getting tons of customers for your online platform is never a hard task.

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