Online gambling laws in America can be a bit confusing, and the constant debate surrounding the legality of online gambling does not make it any clearer. The road to riches may be paved with controversy, but all hope is not lost. We have compiled a must-read guide to online gambling laws in the USA in 2018, so you can concentrate on playing your best game without worrying about legal the matters.

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Online gambling laws – A USA history

History of gambling in the USA


The act of gambling in the USA can be traced back to the Native Americans, who would gamble on the outcomes of games of skill and chance. Popular games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, and Poker made its way, along with the European settlers, in the 1600’s. This led to a rise in gambling in the 1880’s and formed the beginning of lotteries in the US. Gambling was then banned in 1910 and was legalized in Nevada in the 1930’s. Las Vegas became the number one gambling attraction in the USA with Atlantic City in New Jersey following in 1977. In 1998 the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) allowed the establishment of Native American gambling sites. Online gambling and casinos splashed across America in the 1990’s and have since only been legalized in three states. Many Americans love the idea of being able to play their favorite games without having to spend hours travelling to casinos and waiting around for a table to open up. Unfortunately, the US government does not see it that way and in 2006 passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This Act resulted in many international online gambling sites drawing out of the online casino market. The government and the state still argue about the legalization of online gambling. From 2012, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized online gambling, while California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington State have applied for legalization.

Online gambling laws – Who is in charge in the USA?

In terms of online gambling, there are a few Acts that have been put in place, and some that are under re-evaluation, which all American gamblers need to know about in 2018. These Acts include the following.

UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act)

The UIGEA basically states that it is illegal for gambling sites to accept money; this means that it is not illegal to gamble or deposit money for gambling purposes but is just illegal to accept payments for it. At the moment UIGEA is used to prevent financial companies from accepting money from online casinos and not individuals from depositing. Check out our list of online casinos that are safe and open to US players.

RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act)

RAWA was reintroduced in 2015 and aims to rewrite the Federal Wire Act of 1961. Currently, the Wire Act only outlaws sports betting and not online gambling. But if the act is rewritten and approved, most forms of online gambling will be banned, regardless of its current status. This act does not aim to target individual players, but the online casinos themselves.

IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act)

IGRA regulates and monitors Native American gambling establishments. Currently, this Act applies to land-based Indian reservations and not to online sites.

Online gambling laws- Making deposits and withdrawals in the USA

With all of these acts in place, the situation may seem hopeless. You may be wondering that even if you find the perfect online casino, how would you fund your online casino account. Although it is true that the legislation may make it a little more difficult for your banking transactions to be processed, it is not impossible. Here are a few banking methods that are used and accepted by most online gambling sites in the USA. You can always check on the online casino page to see if these methods are offered.

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Western Union
  • Money Gram
  • Prepaid cards
  • Bitcoin

Online gambling licensing authorities in the USA

Gavel by a laptop with chips online gambling usa

As we know, online gambling is legal in three states, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Currently, there are two main licensing commissions who regulate and monitor the casinos in these American states. These commissions are:

  • New Jersey Casino Control Commission-Sites that are licensed by this commission allows players to legally place online sports bets in Delaware and New Jersey.
  • Nevada Gaming Commission-Sites that are licensed and controlled by this commission allows players to take part in sports betting in Nevada.

Always check on the online gambling site to make sure that it is licensed by an accredited and legal licensing commission or authority such as the commissions discussed above.

Online gambling tips for US players

Here are some extra tips you can follow to make sure that you can gamble worry-free in the USA.

  • Check to see whether the online casino accepts USA based players.
  • Check the legal status of the online casino. Do not make any commitments or deposits until you make sure that the online casino site is registered and licensed with a legal and respected authority.
  • Create a realistic bankroll budget and stick to it. This will make sure that you do not run into any unnecessary debt.
  • Look for sites that offer many different payment options so you are not limited.
  • Read the terms and conditions of a site to make sure that they comply with the legal requirements of your state and area. If you are unsure always contact the online casino call centre for help.
  • Look for sites that offer a wide variety of games so you can find the best option for you and are not limited to one choice. Look at our casino games page to learn more about the different games you can expect, to help you make a more informed decision.
  • Don’t limit yourself to local sites; check out some international sites that are open to US citizens as well.
  • Most online casino games are available on iOS and Android devices. Always check that the online casino offers you the ability to play using your preferred device.
  • Contact the call centre of your chosen online casino to make sure that all your legal and casino related queries are answered before you commit.
  • Always check the gambling laws in your state to see its position on online gambling laws.

The current status of online gambling is more talk than action. Just to ensure you are on the safe side check our recommended online casino sites which are approved for US citizens. While we always try our best to keep you informed about the latest regarding the legalization of gambling in the USA, it is always best to do a little extra research on the laws and terms and conditions on online gambling sites, in your specific state and area.

Frequently asked questions about online gambling in America in 2018

How old do you have to be to gamble legally in the USA?
Is there a free play option available in online casinos in the USA?
Is online gambling legal in the USA?
In which states is online gambling legal in 2018?
Do online casinos allow US citizens to make online withdrawals and deposits?