Online Gambling Laws in the United States — Complete Overview

Online gambling laws in the US are a complex patchwork of legislation, with federal and state laws governing the industry. Meanwhile, a growing number of states in America are legalizing various forms of online gambling, including online casinos, sports betting, and online poker. Our gambling experts have provided a comprehensive legal overview of US online gambling laws, available for reference for those seeking information about gambling regulations.
Patrik Lidin
Expert: Principal Writer and Editor / Head of Content
Experience: Sports Trader, Market Maker, Product Owner Sportsbook, Professional Gambler, Poker Player

JustGamblers Bill Tracker — Latest Updates From Around the US

Since the federal ban on sports betting was lifted in 2018, lawmakers and the general public have warmed up to online gambling, creating a favorable environment for introducing everything from online lotteries to online casinos. While many states are working on regulations, legal gambling states are constantly reevaluating their legislation and optimizing it to minimize risks and maximize benefits.

Our online gambling legal bill track helps organizations and professionals stay on top of the latest legislation and online gambling laws in the US:

US online gambling laws vary from state to state. Some states, like New Jersey, have a diverse legal ecosystem for all forms of online gambling, including online casinos, sportsbooks, horse betting, online poker, online lotteries, online bingo, daily fantasy sports, and sweepstakes casino gaming.

Other states, such as California, are more conservative and have yet to legalize any form of online gambling besides sweepstakes (social casinos).

Since the legal status of online gambling is subject to each state, the whole legal ecosystem is a patchwork of different regulations with corresponding bans and punishments.

While online gambling is widespread in the United States, it’s still in its infancy, as evidenced by the legal status of online casinos. There are relatively few casino states compared to the availability of online sports betting.

Few states have legalized online casinos, and legislators are more resistant to legalization due to the comparably higher risks related to problem gambling and the negative second-order effects stemming from online casino gambling. At the same time, online casino states are combating problem gambling well while generating tax revenues in the billions of dollars, setting precedents for other states that are reluctant to allow online casinos.

Only six states have legalized online casino gambling in the US:

  1. Connecticut ✅
  2. Delaware ✅
  3. Michigan ✅
  4. New Jersey ✅
  5. Pennsylvania ✅
  6. West Virginia ✅

Online sports betting and poker are arguably the most skill-based forms of online gambling, relying less on randomized outcomes than online casino games, bingo, and lotteries. This is reflected in the widespread availability of legal online sports betting across the United States.

Few opponents to legalization exist, and nearly all states have either legalized or are in the process of enacting laws allowing for multi-vendor licensing systems. Staunch opponents of online sports betting are Alaska, Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah, where legalization could be years away.

Nearly 40 states have legalized some form of online sports betting, and around 20 states have enacted it through a multi-vendor licensing system. There are also examples of in-person betting, in-person deposits for online sportsbooks, and single-operator licensing schemes.

  1. Arkansas ✅
  2. Arizona ✅
  3. Colorado ✅
  4. Connecticut ✅
  5. District of Columbia ✅
  6. Delaware ✅
  7. Florida ✅
  8. Illinois ✅
  9. Indiana ✅
  10. Iowa ✅
  11. Kansas ✅
  12. Kentucky ✅
  13. Louisiana ✅
  14. Maryland ✅
  15. Massachusetts ✅
  16. Maine ✅
  17. Michigan ✅
  18. Mississippi ✅
  19. Montana ✅
  20. Nevada ✅
  21. New Hampshire ✅
  22. New Jersey ✅
  23. New Mexico ✅
  24. New York ✅
  25. North Carolina ✅
  26. North Dakota ✅
  27. Ohio ✅
  28. Oregon ✅
  29. Pennsylvania ✅
  30. Puerto Rico ✅
  31. Rhode Island ✅
  32. South Dakota ✅
  33. Tennessee ✅
  34. Virginia ✅
  35. Vermont ✅
  36. Washington ✅
  37. West Virginia ✅
  38. Wisconsin ✅
  39. Wyoming ✅

States Where Online Sports Betting is Illegal

  1. Alabama ❌
  2. Alaska ❌
  3. California ❌
  4. Georgia ❌
  5. Hawaii ❌
  6. Idaho ❌
  7. Minnesota ❌
  8. Missouri ❌
  9. Nebraska ❌
  10. Oklahoma ❌
  11. South Carolina ❌
  12. Texas ❌

Unique Aspects of Mobile Sports Betting Regulations

In the states of Mississippi, Montana, Washington, and Wisconsin, mobile sports betting is legal over the Internet. Still, you must be physically present at a licensed brick-and-mortar sportsbook to make wagers.

The rollout of online poker in the United States has been slow following Black Friday in April 2015. On that date, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted three major poker sites on accounts of bank fraud, illegal gambling offenses, and money laundering of billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds(1). The event temporarily wiped out the US online poker industry.

Following Black Friday, the recovery effort for nationwide access to online poker rooms has been slow because the revenues generated by online poker are significantly lower than those generated by online casino gaming and sports betting. Effectively, there’s less pressure from operators lobbying for legislation; similarly, lawmakers focus on other parts of online gambling legislation over legalizing online poker.

While all states could have legal online poker if lawmakers would pass legislation, only six states enacted regulations that allow operators to offer online poker:

  1. Delaware ✅
  2. Michigan ✅
  3. Nevada ✅
  4. New Jersey ✅
  5. Pennsylvania ✅
  6. West Virginia ✅

Operators that enable consumers to buy lottery tickets online through desktop or mobile devices do not host their lottery pools. Instead, they have licenses that allow them to fulfil lottery ticket orders for licensed state lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions. In turn, state lotteries are independent of operators such as Jackpot.com and JackPocket, who act as facilitators.

Lotteries are available in 48 jurisdictions (45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Still, only 31 states have digitalized lotteries to enable online ticket purchases. While some states only allow a state-run outlet to sell lottery tickets online, most states enable third-party lottery couriers.

  1. Alaska ✅
  2. Arizona ✅
  3. Arkansas ✅
  4. Colorado ✅
  5. Delaware ✅
  6. District of Columbia ✅
  7. Georgia ✅
  8. Idaho ✅
  9. Illinois ✅
  10. Kentucky ✅
  11. Maine ✅
  12. Maryland ✅
  13. Massachusetts ✅
  14. Michigan ✅
  15. Minnesota ✅
  16. Montana ✅
  17. Nebraska ✅
  18. New Hampshire ✅
  19. New Jersey ✅
  20. New Mexico ✅
  21. New York ✅
  22. North Carolina ✅
  23. North Dakota ✅
  24. Ohio ✅
  25. Oregon ✅
  26. Pennsylvania ✅
  27. Puerto Rico ✅
  28. Rhode Island ✅
  29. Texas ✅
  30. Virginia ✅
  31. West Virginia ✅

States Where You Cannot Purchase Lottery Tickets Through Online Couriers

Here are the remaining states from the list:

  1. Alabama ❌
  2. California ❌
  3. Connecticut ❌
  4. Florida ❌
  5. Hawaii ❌
  6. Indiana ❌
  7. Iowa ❌
  8. Kansas ❌
  9. Louisiana ❌
  10. Mississippi ❌
  11. Missouri ❌
  12. Nevada ❌
  13. Oklahoma ❌
  14. South Carolina ❌
  15. South Dakota ❌
  16. Tennessee ❌
  17. Utah ❌
  18. Vermont ❌
  19. Washington ❌
  20. Wisconsin ❌
  21. Wyoming ❌

Horse betting and sports go hand in hand, so most states that have enacted online sports betting also allow wagering on horses. The main difference between legal horse betting states is that some states have yet to legalize interstate horse wagering. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978(2) is still in effect and bans interstate gambling on horses by default. However, each state has the right to regulate and permit the activity of interstate horse betting and off-track betting (OTB).

If you want to bet online on the Kentucky Derby and other forms of horse racing, you need to be in one of the following states that have legalized horse betting:

  1. Alabama ✅
  2. Arizona ✅
  3. Arkansas ✅
  4. California ✅
  5. Colorado ✅
  6. Connecticut ✅
  7. Delaware ✅
  8. Florida ✅
  9. Idaho ✅
  10. Illinois ✅
  11. Indiana ✅
  12. Iowa ✅
  13. Kansas ✅
  14. Kentucky ✅
  15. Louisiana ✅
  16. Maine ✅
  17. Maryland ✅
  18. Massachusetts ✅
  19. Michigan ✅
  20. Minnesota ✅
  21. Missouri ✅
  22. Montana ✅
  23. Nebraska ✅
  24. New Hampshire ✅
  25. New Jersey ✅
  26. New Mexico ✅
  27. New York ✅
  28. North Carolina ✅
  29. North Dakota ✅
  30. Ohio ✅
  31. Oklahoma ✅
  32. Oregon ✅
  33. Pennsylvania ✅
  34. Rhode Island ✅
  35. South Dakota ✅
  36. Tennessee ✅
  37. Vermont ✅
  38. Virginia ✅
  39. Washington (including District of Columbia) ✅
  40. West Virginia ✅
  41. Wisconsin ✅
  42. Wyoming ✅

States Where Online Horse Betting is Illegal

  1. Alaska ❌
  2. Georgia ❌
  3. Hawaii ❌
  4. Mississippi ❌
  5. Nevada ❌
  6. South Carolina ❌
  7. Texas ❌
  8. Utah ❌

Online sweepstakes casinos are legal in 48 states, with Washington and Michigan banning them. Idaho's legalisation makes sweepstakes apps available but renders them useless because Idaho players can’t win real-money prizes. All other states have straightforward regulations that allow players to participate in sweepstakes and win real-money cash prizes.

  1. Alabama ✅
  2. Alaska ✅
  3. Arizona ✅
  4. Arkansas ✅
  5. California ✅
  6. Colorado ✅
  7. Connecticut ✅
  8. Delaware ✅
  9. District of Columbia ✅
  10. Florida ✅
  11. Georgia ✅
  12. Hawaii ✅
  13. Idaho ✅
  14. Illinois ✅
  15. Indiana ✅
  16. Iowa ✅
  17. Kansas ✅
  18. Kentucky ✅
  19. Louisiana  ✅
  20. Maine ✅
  21. Maryland ✅
  22. Massachusetts ✅
  23. Minnesota ✅
  24. Mississippi ✅
  25. Missouri ✅
  26. Montana ✅
  27. Nebraska ✅
  28. Nevada ✅
  29. New Hampshire ✅
  30. New Jersey ✅
  31. New Mexico ✅
  32. New York ✅
  33. North Carolina ✅
  34. North Dakota ✅
  35. Ohio ✅
  36. Oklahoma ✅
  37. Oregon ✅
  38. Pennsylvania ✅
  39. Rhode Island ✅
  40. South Carolina ✅
  41. South Dakota ✅
  42. Tennessee ✅
  43. Texas ✅
  44. Utah ✅
  45. Vermont ✅
  46. Virginia ✅
  47. West Virginia ✅
  48. Wisconsin ✅
  49. Wyoming ✅

While social casinos can be considered illegal in Idaho, apps can offer sweepstakes without real money cash prizes, rendering Idaho sweepstakes casinos useless.

  • Michigan ❌
  • Washington ❌

From a legal standpoint, the federal government has concluded that daily fantasy sports don’t constitute gambling, even though DFS contests involve real money wagering on unknown outcomes. As such, DFS apps are widespread across the United States, with varying types of regulations for daily fantasy drafts and pick’em contests.

In some states, like Louisiana, DFS apps are legal, but each Parish can choose to block access to daily fantasy platforms. This means that if you’re in Louisiana and a blocked Parish, for example, Beauregard or Caldwell, you won’t be able to access daily fantasy apps like FanDuel and DraftKings.

  1. Alabama ✅
  2. Alaska ✅
  3. Arizona ✅
  4. Arkansas ✅
  5. California ✅
  6. Colorado ✅
  7. Connecticut ✅
  8. Delaware ✅
  9. District of Columbia ✅
  10. Florida ✅
  11. Georgia ✅
  12. Illinois ✅
  13. Indiana ✅
  14. Iowa ✅
  15. Kansas ✅
  16. Kentucky ✅
  17. Louisiana ✅
  18. Maine ✅
  19. Maryland ✅
  20. Massachusetts ✅
  21. Michigan ✅
  22. Minnesota ✅
  23. Mississippi ✅
  24. Missouri ✅
  25. Nebraska ✅
  26. New Hampshire ✅
  27. New Jersey ✅
  28. New Mexico ✅
  29. New York ✅
  30. North Carolina ✅
  31. North Dakota ✅
  32. Ohio ✅
  33. Oklahoma ✅
  34. Oregon ✅
  35. Pennsylvania ✅
  36. Rhode Island ✅
  37. South Carolina ✅
  38. South Dakota ✅
  39. Tennessee ✅
  40. Texas ✅
  41. Utah ✅
  42. Vermont ✅
  43. Virginia ✅
  44. West Virginia ✅
  45. Wisconsin ✅
  46. Wyoming ✅

States Where Daily Fantasy Sports is Illegal

  1. Hawaii ❌
  2. Idaho ❌
  3. Montana ❌
  4. Nevada ❌
  5. Washington ❌

Federal Gambling Laws Concerning Online Gambling

Two key federal laws concerning online gambling activities are the Wire Act of 1961(3) and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006(4). Both laws have in common that their applications are outdated compared to the current status of online gambling in 2024. A third federal law concerns tribal gaming, an aspect of gambling in America, which is separated further down the page.

Fortunately, a change of scope in the Wire Act in 2011 allowed states to regulate online casino gaming. When a third act, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, was judicially overturned in 2018(5), states were free to legalize online sports betting.

The federal government's best option was to transfer the regulatory burden to state legislators because federal legislation remains complex and largely useless for online gambling in the US.

The Wire Act of 1961

The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was the first law to cover online gambling. It prohibits the use of wire communication facilities to transmit wagers across state lines. While the Wire Act's original scope targeted organized crime, it became a fundamental law as online gambling options became available in the 1990s.

In 2001, Congress passed amendments to the original bill and officially extended the Wire Act’s scope for the first time to cover aspects of gambling over the Internet.

In 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) narrowed the scope of the Wire Act to sports betting.

Right before the Donald Trump administration handed over its reigns to Joe Biden in late 2018, the DOJ surprised the whole gambling industry by reversing its interpretation of the Wire Act and making most interstate online gambling illegal. The sudden change took the industry off guard, and the DOJ implemented a 90-day grace period, which was extended to June 14, 2019, to allow entities engaged in online gambling to become compliant with the new law. During this grace period, multiple lawsuits challenged the DOJ’s new direction on the Wire Act. The New Hampshire Lottery successfully challenged the Justice Department and brought its case(6) to court. A District Court ruled against the DOJ in June 2019, stating that the DOJ misinterpreted the Wire Act and made the Wire Act amendments 2018 legally invalid. 

The DOJ appealed the verdict in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2019(7) but was unsuccessful. The court acknowledged that the Wire Act was not entirely clear but sufficient in declaring that it only applies to sports wagering and not other forms of gambling.

Due to the timing of events and the transfer of presidential administrations, the DOJ has yet to file additional appeals under Biden to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Post-Biden, whether we will see an appeal from the Department of Justice remains to be seen.

At the end of 2018, in a separate attempt to redefine online gambling legislation under the Wire Act, senators Chuck Schumer, Mitt Romney, and Orrin Hatch cooperated to introduce a new bill, the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018(8). However, industry stakeholders and several policymakers opposed the legislation, and there has been no interest in entertaining it since.

JustGamblers monitors the situation around the Wire Act and updates this page with new developments.

Impact of The Wire Act in Today’s Online Gambling Landscape — Outdated and Limited Scope

Today, 60-plus years after the Wire Act was passed, it remains a confusing piece of legislation that makes it more difficult for legal businesses to operate while simultaneously failing to prohibit unregulated operators from offering illegal services in the United States.

Theoretically, the federal government could use the Wire Act to clamp down on unregulated operators illegally competing with the regulated US market. However, practically, it’s difficult for authorities to enforce US laws on operators in offshore jurisdictions.

UIGEA of 2006

Another federal law is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which prohibits financial transactions for unlawful online gambling. George W. Bush signed the act into law during his second term.

From the start, the UIGEA is a muddy piece of legislation introduced under dubious terms by Republican Senator Bill Frist to bolster his effort for a presidential campaign in the 2008 elections. Multiple attempts to gain traction for UIGEA had failed, and in a desperate move, Frist, acting as Senate Majority Leader, forced lawmakers to supplement an unrelated port security bill with the UIGEA.

Impact of UIGEA in Today’s Online Gambling Landscape —  A Largely Useless Piece of Legislation

Similarly to the Wire Act, the UIGEA does little to impact online gambling in the United States. The “unlawful” part of the act doesn’t clarify how an online wager is illegal; it only refers to violating some federal or state law where applicable.

The problem is that the federal government can’t tell in advance if a particular transaction relates to unlawful gambling, so pinpointing illegal transactions is practically impossible. The ambiguity of the UIGEA is so complete that federal agencies can’t even produce a list of online gambling operators considered illegal. Instead, the regulatory burden is moved to payment processors and financial institutions to check if money transferred comes from unlawful internet gambling. Similarly to federal agencies, these financial companies cannot verify if a transaction comes from unlawful internet gambling. And while the DOJ has forced Neteller from the United States due to its association with unregulated online gambling, the UIGEA was never used, most likely because it’s a messy federal legislation that should not exist.

In the end, UIGEA is of little use and does nothing to limit the presence of unregulated online gambling sites. At the same time, reputable international gambling operators have opted to play it safe and don’t accept US residents, leaving more room for unscrupulous offshore operators to actively engage US players and bettors.

PASPA of 1992 Overturned in 2018 — Opened Up the Doors for Sports Betting

PASPA made it illegal for a state to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license or authorize sports betting. The overturning of PASPA in 2018 didn’t legalize sports betting in the United States; instead, it moved the responsibility to local courts and policymakers of individual states to regulate intrastate gambling.

Congress could legislate by implementing a federal framework for sports betting and other forms of online gambling. However, as it stands with the Wire Act and UIGEA, state-by-state legislation is preferred, and federal legislation overriding state-level legislation hopefully never sees the light of day.

Other Federal Statutes Concerning Illegal Gambling

Besides the principal federal regulations concerning US online gambling, there are several laws on a federal level that have been used in criminal cases against gambling operations over the past decades, including:

State-Level Online Gambling Laws and Regulations

Because federal laws do not explicitly permit or prohibit online gambling, this has created a mishmash of state gambling laws. With state gambling laws, we have unique legal frameworks in every state, from New Jersey, which allows most forms of commercial gambling, to Hawaii and Utah, which prohibits all forms of online gambling.

All across the United States, new online gambling laws are introduced or reworked, and the landscape of online gambling is constantly changing. The one constant is online sports betting, which 39 states have legalized, with a few more underway. Online casinos are the gambling form that has received the most resistance from legislators, as only six states allow online casino gaming with real money.

Please refer to our list of legal online gambling guides per state at the beginning of this page if you want to learn more about specific state-level laws and regulations.

Why States Should Legalize Online Gambling — Benefits of Legalization

An often overlooked aspect of legislation and regulation is that illegal online gambling operators are raking in billions of untaxed gambling revenue across the United States. On these websites, consumers are more vulnerable and likely to develop bad gambling habits. From this perspective, local legislation is preferred as it enables improved consumer protection, tax revenues, and regional job opportunities.

The only valid counterargument to legalizing online gambling would be if law enforcement could effectively prohibit residents from accessing illegal gambling sites, but with current technology, this is not possible. There are also no laws prohibiting residents from accessing offshore gambling sites, depositing, playing, and withdrawing funds to their US bank accounts. With that in mind, arguments against online gambling legalization essentially enable the growth of illegal gambling and increase the risks of social problems, ultimately hurting the economy and putting individuals at risk.

List of Federal Gambling Regulatory Agencies

List of State Gambling License & Regulatory Agencies

StateRegulatory Agencies
AlabamaBirmingham Racing Commission - Alabama Attorney General’s Office
AlaskaState of Alaska Department of Revenue - The Alaska State Legislature
ArizonaArizona Department of Gambling - Arizona Lottery Commission - Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG)
ArkansasArkansas Racing Commission - Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration
CaliforniaCalifornia Bureau of Gambling Control - California Gambling Control Commission - California Lottery - California Horse Racing Board - California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) - California Attorney General's Office (AGO)
ColoradoColorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold - Colorado Department of Revenue - Colorado Lottery - The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission - The Colorado Racing Commission - Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations
ConnecticutConnecticut Lottery Corporation - Department of Consumer Protection – Gaming Division - Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP)
DelawareDelaware Gaming Enforcement - Delaware Lottery Games - Delaware State Lottery Office - The Delaware Harness Racing Commission - Board of Charitable Gaming
District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia Lottery - The Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG)
FloridaFlorida Lottery - The Florida Gaming Control Commission - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
GeorgiaGeorgia Bureau of Investigation - Georgia Lottery - Georgia Department of Revenue - Georgia Horse Racing Coalition
HawaiiHawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
IdahoIdaho Lottery - Idaho Official Government Website - The Tribal Gaming Commission - The Idaho State Racing Commission
IllinoisIllinois Lottery - Illinois Racing Board - Illinois Gaming Board
IndianaIndiana Gaming Commission - Hoosier Lottery - Indiana Horse Racing Commission (HRC) - Sports Wagering and Paid Fantasy Sports Division
IowaDepartment of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing - Iowa Department of Public Safety - Iowa Lottery - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC)
KansasKansas Lottery - Kansas State Gaming Agency - The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC)
KentuckyKentucky Department of Charitable Gaming - Kentucky Lottery - Kentucky Horse Racing Commission
LouisianaLouisiana Gaming Control Board - Louisiana Racing Commission
MaineMaine State Lottery - State of Maine Department of Public Safety - Harness Racing Commission - Gambling Control Unit
MarylandMaryland Racing Commission - Maryland Lottery - Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency (MLGCA)
MassachusettsMassachusetts Gaming Commission
MichiganMichigan Charitable Gaming - Michigan Lottery - Michigan Gaming Control Board
MinnesotaAlcohol and Gambling Enforcement - Minnesota Gambling Control Board - Minnesota Lottery - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety - Minnesota Racing Commission
MississippiMississippi Gaming Commission
MissouriMissouri Gaming Commission - The Missouri Horse Racing Commission
MontanaMontana Gambling Control Division - Board of Horse Racing - Montana Department of Commerce - Montana Department of Justice
NebraskaNebraska Lottery - The Nebraska State Racing & Gaming Commission
NevadaNevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board
New HampshireNew Hampshire Lottery - New Hampshire Lottery Commission - New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority
New JerseyNew Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs - State of New Jersey Casino Control Commission - New Jersey Lottery - The New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC)
New MexicoNew Mexico Gaming Control Board - New Mexico Lottery - New Mexico Racing Commission
New YorkNew York State Gaming Commission
North CarolinaNorth Carolina State Lottery Commission - North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ)
North DakotaNorth Dakota State Government - The North Dakota Racing Commission
OhioOhio Casino Control Commission - Ohio Lottery - Ohio Racing Commission - Ohio Attorney General's Office
OklahomaOklahoma Able Commission - Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission - The Gaming Compliance Unit (GCU)
OregonOregon Lottery Commission - Oregon Racing Commission - Oregon Department of Justice
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Gaming Control Board - Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission
Rhode IslandState of Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation - Rhode Island Secretary of State - Rhode Island Government
South CarolinaCatawaba Gaming Commission - South Carolina Department of Revenue - South Carolina Education Lottery
South DakotaSouth Dakota Department of Revenue - The South Dakota Commission on Gaming
TennesseeTennessee Sports Wagering Council
TexasTexas Lottery Commission - Texas Racing Commission
UtahUtah Horse Racing Commission
VermontState of Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery - Vermont Racing Commission - Vermont General Assembly
VirginiaVirginia Lottery Board - Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - The Virginia Racing Commission
WashingtonWashington’s Lottery Commission - Washington State Gambling Commission
Washington D.C.The Office of Lottery and Gaming
West VirginiaWest Virginia Lottery - West Virginia Department of Revenue - The West Virginia Racing Commission
WisconsinState of Wisconsin Department of Administration - DOA Office of Indian Gaming and Regulatory Compliance - Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau
WyomingWyoming Gaming Commission

Indian Tribal Gaming Regulations

Tribal gaming is integral to the US gambling landscape with more established legislation and classification systems. All gaming operations on Indian land are subject to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA)(9) and are overseen by several tribal agencies, including the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission), individual regulatory agencies of tribal government, and various compacts between tribes and states where gambling establishments are located. Around 250 tribes in 29 states operate over 500 tribal gambling establishments.

The IGRA of 1988 is separated into three classifications:

  1. Tribal Gaming Class I: Social games solely for prizes of minimal value played by a tribe in connection with celebrations or ceremonies
  2. Tribal Gaming Class II: Games such as bingo, pulltabs, punchboards, instant bingo, and card games that are not played against the house, such as poker.
  3. Tribal Gaming Class III: Casino-style gaming such as table games like blackjack, craps and roulette against the house, and gambling machines such as slots and video poker, as well as lotteries and pari-mutuel wagering.

Tribes have sole authority to regulate Class I games, while tribes, with support from the NIGC, control Class II games. Class III games are subject to state regulations of where the reservation or tribal land is located and require approval from local state authorities. Despite having over 500 gambling establishments, Native American tribes generally think that IGRA rules infringe on their sovereignty, and it’s difficult for tribes to reach agreements on Class III games, the most economically valuable permit.

FAQ Online Gambling Laws in the United States

What Federal Laws Regulate Online Gambling in the US?

Three federal laws apply to online gambling in the United States: UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) of 2006 The Wire Act of 1961 IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) of 1988

Who Regulates Online Gambling in the United States?

Individual state governments regulate online gambling in their territories, including online casino gaming, sports betting, online poker, daily fantasy sports, and lotteries.

State governments generally legalize online gambling to increase tax revenues without raising direct taxes. Legal online gambling options also minimize the negative impact of illegal operations where revenues are untaxed, and consumer protection is low.

One would think the state synonymous with gambling would allow online casinos to operate. However, online casinos are banned in Nevada, mainly because of the fear that online options would cannibalize revenues of brick-and-mortar casinos in Las Vegas and negatively impact tourism as a secondary effect.

Resources and Sources

  1. Manhattan US Attorney Charges Principals of Three Largest Internet Poker Companies, accessed June 14, 2024, <https://www.justice.gov/archive/usao/nys/pressreleases/April11/scheinbergetalindictmentpr.pdf>
  2. Declaring that the policy of Congress is to regulate interstate commerce concerning wagering on horseracing, accessed June 12, 2024, <https://www.congress.gov/bill/95th-congress/senate-bill/1185>
  3. The Federal Wire Act concerning the transmission of bets, wagers, and related information, accessed June 16, 2024, <https://www.congress.gov/87/statute/STATUTE-75/STATUTE-75-Pg491.pdf>
  4. Prohibition on funding of unlawful internet gambling, accessed June 18, 2024,  <https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid%3AUSC-prelim-title31-chapter53-subchapter4&edition=prelim>
  5. Philip D. Murphy, Governor of New Jersey, et al. versus National Collegiate Athletic Association et al., accessed on June 10, 2024, <https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-476_dbfi.pdf>
  6. Granting motion to dismiss for failure in NH Lottery Commission versus US Attorney General et al., accessed on June 13, 2024, <https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCOURTS-nhd-1_19-cv-00163/pdf/USCOURTS-nhd-1_19-cv-00163-1.pdf>
  7. The First Circuit ruled that the Wire Act applies only to interstate wire communications related to sporting events or contests, accessed, June 16, 2024, <https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca1/19-1835/19-1835-2021-01-20.html>
  8. Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 attempting to amend the Wire Act and the Sports Bribery Act for enforcement of gambling prohibitions, accessed on June 11, 2024, <https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3793/text>
  9. IGRA regulating gambling on Indian lands, accessed on June 17, 2024, <https://www.nigc.gov/general-counsel/indian-gaming-regulatory-act>
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