How to Gamble Online Legally in the US

Gambling is legal on a state level in the United States, and each of the 50 states regulate it differently. Some only allow sports betting, while others permit online casinos, poker and daily fantasy sports. In addition, some states have their own lottery programs and regulate them separately. Other states, such as California, are looking at expanding their online gambling offerings to include online lottery games and virtual slots.

The first step to legally gamble online is to familiarize yourself with your state’s gambling laws. You can find that information on our Online Gambling Legality by State page. Then, you can decide which form of online gambling is appropriate for your personal situation. Remember to always gamble responsibly. All licensed and regulated operators have responsible gambling tools available to bettors, including educational guides on how to spot problem gambling, links to support services and the ability to self-exclude for a period of time.

Despite being a major industry, legal online gambling is still in its early stages in the US. While many of the big online sportsbooks have already been operating in the US for several years, legal casino and poker sites have only been available to residents of a handful of states. This is largely due to the fact that federal law (the Wire Act of 1961) has been restrictive to new forms of online gambling.

But in 2011 the Department of Justice issued a memo changing how it interprets the law, and now new types of online gaming are possible. The legal change opened the door for individual states to legalize and regulate online betting, casino games, poker and daily fantasy sports.

New Jersey was the first state to launch legal online gambling in 2013, when it began accepting wagers on sports and online casino games. Other states, such as Delaware, Nevada and West Virginia, followed suit in 2014. And last year, Michigan became the fifth US state to make online poker and casino games legal.

The two holdout states that do not allow any kind of legal gambling online are Utah and Hawaii. Both have large Mormon populations that oppose the concept of gambling.

Other states that are cautious about allowing new forms of online gambling are Oregon, Vermont and Idaho. They all have religious reasons for not embracing the industry, although some of them are also worried about crime and other issues that could arise. In contrast, Arizona, Arkansas and Louisiana have passed legislation to expand their legal gambling offerings. This shows that the tide is turning in favor of regulating online gambling. It is only a matter of time before the majority of states will follow suit.