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Gambling Laws in the USA

Jonn Seo | January 20, 2020 | Updated on: December 1st, 2020

gambling laws in the usGambling laws in USA have never been clear on online gambling, leaving the industry in a grey area. Americans can easily purchase lottery tickets online, as the industry is regulated by provinces. The gaming laws for American residents can be summed up below.

American law is clear that it is illegal to conduct online gambling operations within the country’s borders. No concise state law prohibits or allow American players to wager at casinos based in other countries.

All of the casinos featured on American Casinos allow players from the USA to wager with and win real money. Most allow for wagers in American Dollars as well. Players will be able to gamble at top US casinos

Top Casinos In the USA

Gambling Laws – A Brief History of Gambling

For most of its history, USA has been staunchly anti-gambling. The American Criminal Code, enacted in 1892, banned nearly all forms of gambling.

An amendment made in 1910 allowed pari-mutuel horse betting. Pari-mutuel betting means that winners divide the losers’ stake between them, the track, the horsemen, and the state.

One notable benefactor was the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. In 1980, another amendment was made. The amendment allowed for online gambling machines like electronic slots and Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) to be installed at casinos.

Ticket lotteries, horse racing, charitable gaming such as bingo, and some online gambling is regulated by provinces and territories. They bring in much-needed revenue that helps run the country.

Gaming Authorities in the USA

Gaming authorities exist in every country. They ensure that all gaming is fair, and in accordance with the law. In USA, gambling falls under provincial jurisdiction. This means that each province determines its own gaming laws.

Some provinces allow for nearly every form of gambling, while some allow none at all. Horse racing is excluded. It is regulated by the American Agency. The internet is not limited to provinces, hence the grey area.

The Gaming Commission

The Gaming Authority recognized the opportunities, online gaming providers, in the late 1990s.  The commission regulates and issues licenses to casinos, as well as its three own land-based poker rooms.

Each operator needs to meet a strict set of criteria before they are issued with a license by the Kahnawake commission.

Gambling Laws – eCOGRA

eCOGRA is an independent body that aims to protect casino players through regulation in the casino industry. eCOGRA was established in 2003 with several key policy objectives:

The protection of vulnerable customers

This means that a casino should ensure that they have relevant details of gambling addiction helplines readily available to customers.

The prevention of underage gambling

It is crucial to prevent underage players from illegally wagering money. That is why casinos should have stringent checks in place to prevent illegal gambling. If not, both the casino and the player can face legal consequences if the necessary steps aren’t taken.

Ensuring fair gaming through the use of Random Number Generators (RNGs)

A Random Number Generator (RNG) is the industry standard for determining the outcome of any wager.

The protection of players’ privacy and information amongst many other objectives

A casino should use 128-bit SSL encryption to prevent players’ personal details from being stolen. Casinos that comply with all of eCOGRA’s objectives will get the ‘eCOGRA Stamp of Approval’. Players should always look out for the stamp on a casino before they sign up.

Gambling Laws – Registering at an Online American Casino

The best casinos require players to provide proof of identity when registering a profile. A casino will usually require a player to submit copies of proof of identity (e.g. A driver’s license) and proof of address.

Players should ideally always have the documents with them while playing at a casino.

Sports Betting

Unlike in the United States, sports betting is allowed under American Law. The American Criminal Code allows for parlay bets on three matches or more.

States Offering Legal Online Gambling


State Casino Online Online Poker  Sports Betting Online
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes
Indiana No No Yes
West Virginia Yes Yes Yes
Iowa No No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes
Nevada No Yes Yes
Delaware Yes Yes No
Oregon No No Yes
Rhode Island No No Yes
Montana No No Yes

The Future of Gambling

The need for clear law around online gambling in the USA is key. More and more countries see the value of online gambling and the benefits of regulating it, and the USA is no exception.

Gaming Laws FAQs in the USA