The Legality of Online Gambling in the US

Society | January 20, 2023, Friday // 10:10
Bulgaria: The Legality of Online Gambling in the US besteonlinecasinos by Pixabay

Online gambling in the United States is a complicated issue with a patchwork of laws and regulations. While some states have legalized and regulated online gambling, others have banned it entirely. This article will explore the legality of online gambling in the US and the laws and regulations that apply in different states. It is important to note that the legal landscape of online gambling in the US is constantly evolving. As technology advances and more states seek ways to increase revenue, more states may consider legalizing and regulating online gambling. However, it is also possible that stricter laws and regulations may be put in place to combat illegal gambling activities. It is essential for individuals to stay informed about the current laws and regulations in their state and to only engage in legal forms of online gambling. Additionally, individuals should consult legal experts to understand the legal implications of online gambling in their state.

Federal Laws on Online Gambling

At the federal level, there are a few key laws that regulate online gambling in the US. The most important is the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits wire communications from placing bets on sporting events or contests. This law, passed in 1961, was initially intended to target illegal sports betting operations, but it has since been interpreted to apply to all forms of online gambling.

Another important federal law affecting online gambling is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), passed in 2006. This law prohibits financial institutions from processing transactions related to online gambling, making it more difficult for Americans to deposit and withdraw money from online gambling sites.

Although there may be some confusion, it is important to note that no federal law prohibits online gambling for US citizens. As long as the website is based outside of the United States, it is legal for individuals to place wagers online. Many offshore websites readily accept US players, so there is no need to worry about prosecution for placing bets online.

State Laws on Online Gambling

While federal laws provide a general framework for online gambling in the US, the specific laws and regulations apply in each state can vary widely. In some states, online gambling is completely banned, while in others, it is fully legal and regulated.

States that have legalized and regulated online gambling include Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Specifically, Pennsylvania online casinos have established regulatory frameworks that allow for the operation of online casinos and poker rooms, and they also collect taxes and fees from these operations.

Other states, such as California and New York, are currently considering or passing legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling.


In New York, the legality of online gambling is somewhat ambiguous. While lawmakers have identified legal gaps that could be used to legalize online casinos, no official decision has been made. However, with Pennsylvania legalizing online gambling, New York will likely follow suit to not lose potential revenue to its neighboring state.

New Jersey

This state has embraced gambling and all that comes with it, including online casinos. These have been legal for some time and have generated billions in revenue. Rest assured that playing any online casino game at New Jersey's online gambling sites is entirely legal.


This state recently approved online gambling legislation by signing House Bill 4311 and the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.


This state also offers legal online gambling, though the revenue generated is not as high as in other states like New Jersey.


This state recently joined the field of online gambling, specifically with the introduction of online poker. Mobile casino apps are also widely used in the state.


Nevada has a long history of legalized gambling, and it's one of the few states that have successfully regulated and operated online poker rooms. However, the state is strict about the types of online gambling allowed and only permits online poker in designated rooms. Other online casino games, such as slots and table games, are not permitted.

On the other hand, there are states where online gambling is illegal and banned. These states include Utah, Hawaii and Washington.

Online casinos and taxes

Online casino earnings in the USA are considered taxable income. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), all gambling winnings, including those from online casinos, are subject to federal income tax. Players are required to report their winnings on their tax returns and may be required to pay taxes on the total amount of their winnings, regardless of whether they have already paid taxes on the money they used to place their bets. It's important to note that each state has different laws and regulations regarding the taxation of online casino earnings. Players should consult their state tax agency for more information. Additionally, players should keep accurate records of their online casino winnings and losses to report them on their tax returns properly.


Online gambling in the US is legal as long as it is within the confines of federal and state laws. Many states offer online casino gaming, while others consider legalizing online gambling. Players should be aware of their local regulations regarding gambling and keep accurate records of their winnings and losses to ensure compliance with applicable tax laws. Additionally, players should always use reputable online casinos that hold valid licenses. Doing so can help protect them from fraudulent activities and ensure they have a great experience playing at the best online casinos.



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