Gambling in America is big business, with as many as 48 states offering some form of live legal gambling to residents. This means that no matter which state you live in, some form of gambling is likely available to you. Most other states will also allow players to enjoy gambling online, with only very few states actively regulating online gambling.
Casino US has researched an extensive guide to all forms of gambling offered to players. This will include both online forms of gambling, as well as live versions. When we look at live gambling, we will include brick and mortar casinos, state lotteries, bingo, horse racing, sports betting and more. USA Online casino players will be able to enjoy plenty of casino games like online slots, poker, roulette, blackjack, and more.
Carry on reading to find out everything you need to know about gambling in the United States, thanks to our comprehensive US states gambling guide.
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State Laws Casinos
When it comes to casinos in the USA, it can get a little complicated. There are no federal laws that restrict gambling anymore, and it falls on individual states to determine their gambling laws. Until recently, sports betting was the exception, with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) making sports betting illegal. This was overturned recently though, allowing states to regulate sports betting as they see fit.
Individual American states are also permitted to define gambling in their own words. The result of this is that some forms of gambling, like fantasy sports, may be legal in one state and not another. States are also able to determine how they deal with gambling expansion. A state may require the permission of residents to expand gambling, or the state’s legislature can expand gambling on their own.
Sports Betting Laws
Before PASPA was repealed, the laws surrounding sports betting were quite complicated. Generally speaking, it was illegal to offer betting on sports. Only a handful of states were exempt, and these were Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. These four states were exempt, as they had already legalized some form of sports betting before PASPA came into effect.
PASPA was finally overturned following a lengthy court battle with New Jersey. The state wanted to legalize sports betting, but the law prevented it. The battle went all the way up to the supreme court, who sided with New Jersey.
Online Gambling State Laws
As with other forms of gambling, it is up to the individual state to permit or ban online gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is a federal law that governs online gambling and does not permit interstate gambling. This means if a state decides to legalize online gambling, they will need to have age and location verification systems in place. This will prevent players from other states from gambling.
When a state legalizes online gambling, payers will typically have access to all sorts of casino games, like poker, slots, roulette, blackjack, lotteries and more. States can also choose to permit online sports betting. Most states do not have any laws directly pertaining to online gambling. This means it is a bit of a grey area and is not illegal for players to sign up at an offshore casino site.
Commercial and Native American Casinos
Another aspect of casinos in the USA that makes things a little more complicated is commercial casinos and Native American casinos. Some states in America will allow both, while some will only have Native American casinos. But, what does this mean for the average American gambler?
Let’s tackle commercial casinos first. What do we mean when we talk about states with commercial casinos? When talking about commercial casino in the USA, we’re speaking about casinos owned by famous firms like Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and so on. These are the types of casinos you’ll find in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.
Native American Casinos
As for Native American Casinos, also referred to as tribal casinos, these are run by Native American tribes and can be found in 28 states across America. In total, there are over 470 tribal casinos located across the United States.
Tribal casinos are the results of a 1987 US Supreme Court case, California versus Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. Following the court’s ruling, the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act came into being. This gave Native American tribes the right to build casinos, as long as they met several criteria.
In order to be able to build a casino, the tribe would need to have been recognized by the US Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs before 1932. Should the tribe not have been recognized before 1932, the tribe will need to be granted a waiver from the Interior Department. In addition to this, the casino needs to be built on Native American reservations. More recent changes to the law now also allow Native American tribes to purchase private land for a casino, but the land needs to be connected to the reservation, or add something new to the reservation.
Differences between Commercial and Tribal Casinos
You might think that a casino is a casino, but when it comes to tribal and commercial casinos throughout the United States, there are a few noticeable differences. Whether your state has commercial casinos, or tribal, we guarantee you’ll still have a blast. We’ve compiled a list of the differences between the two USA casino types.
- Agreements with States: In order to operate a tribal casino, the Native American tribal authority will be required to come to an agreement with the state in which the casino will be located. This is known as a gaming compact. Typically, the gaming compact will see the tribe paying enough taxes to the state to cover the costs of regulation. However, the state is not permitted to charge more than the cost of oversight.
- Gaming Concessions: The exception to the point raised above is if the state negotiates a gaming concession with the tribal casino. Gaming concessions allow the state to get more taxes by giving the tribal casinos certain concessions. These could include giving the tribal casino a monopoly on a certain type of casino game, or that the state won’t allow any other casinos within a certain distance.
- Class III Gaming Machines – Class III gaming machines are not permitted in tribal casinos. These types of games are things like slot machines or video poker, where every result is entirely independent of previous rounds. Class III gaming machines are also known as Las Vegas-style games. Players from the USA will generally need to visit a commercial casino to enjoy these types of games.
- Class II Gaming: This means that, generally players will find Class II games at tribal casinos. This means that the games follow a prize pool rule, like a lottery or a raffle. In this case, a winning result will decrease the chances of winning the jackpot. You may also see Video Lottery Terminals at some tribal casinos. These look like slot machines but feature a lottery or bingo-style gaming element.
- Banked Table Games: If you play table games in Las Vegas, like Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, you’re playing a house-banked game. It is called this because the casino acts as the banker and pays out wins. However, in California, commercial casinos are not permitted to offer house-banked table games. If you play a banked casino game in California, a player at the table needs to volunteer to pay out winning bets. However, if no player is willing to do so, third-party vendors are normally ready to step in.
States with No Gambling
Out of all the states, only two have actually banned any form of gambling. These are Hawaii and Utah. If you live in these states, no form of gambling is allowed, not even the lottery. Only four other states do not permit the lottery, which are Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, and surprisingly, Nevada.
There are also 22 states that allow residents to play the lottery, as well as engage in pari-mutuel betting on horses. However, these 22 states do not have any land-based casinos. Some of these states include Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina.
States with Tribal Casinos
Not all states have tribal casinos. Below is a list of some of the states where tribal casinos can be found.
- Florida: When it comes to tribal casinos in the state of Florida, the only option is the Seminole Tribe. They operate eight land-based casinos in Florida and have an exclusive gaming concession on certain games. They also own the Hard Rock International casino group and have opened the Hard Rock Atlantic City ion 2018.
- California: California is the state with the most tribal casinos in America. In total, there are over 60 locations. These casinos also have a tremendous amount of political power, which is why some bills have failed in recent years, like online poker propositions.
- New York: There are 12 tribal casinos in the state of New York, operated by several different tribes. These include the Mohawk Nation, Seneca Nation, and the Oneida Indian Nation.
- New Mexico: There are around 25 tribal casinos in New Mexico. There have been some struggles in recent years though, with the state wanting to increase taxes paid by the casinos.
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma has around 60 tribal casinos. Years ago, the government forced countless eastern Native American tribes to relocate there, so it is no surprise that there are so many tribal casinos now. Oklahoma is also home to two of the largest casinos in the world, which are the WinStar World Casino and the Choctaw Casino. They are located close to Dallas, Texas.
- Connecticut: Connecticut currently only has two tribal casinos, but these are very well-known locations. These are the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino. When they were built, these two were the biggest casinos in the world. The two tribes that run these casinos are currently planning on joining forces to build a third casino.
In the early 1990s, a new type of casino burst onto the scene. Online casinos were set to revolutionize the way people enjoyed their favorite casino games. Players no longer needed to travel to their nearest casino but could sign up at an casino and play games from their own home. Casinos were able to offer all types of casino games, including slots, roulette, craps, poker, blackjack, and more. Sports betting has also become popular at online sportsbooks.
Most states were slow to try and regulate the online gambling market. Delaware and New Jersey were the only two states who really put in the effort to legalize and regulate casino games. Nevada also regulated some forms of online gambling, by allowing online poker and sports betting. Betting on horse racing online is also available in numerous states, while a few states will sell lottery tickets online.
Part of the reason why states were slow to act upon online gambling was the way the Department of Justice interpreted the Wire Act. The DOJ claimed the Wire Act did not allow states to permit online gambling. However, when Nevada tried to regulate online poker, the Wire Act was brought up; but, the law only mentioned sports betting. Legal experts ruled that the DOJ’s original opinion was incorrect and it was reversed, which opened the door for further online gambling expansion in the USA.
State Casino FAQs
Which states have no casinos?
There are not many states that have no casinos. In total there are ten, which are Alaska, Hawaii, Georgia, Utah, Nebraska, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vermont.
Which states have legalized sports betting?
Before PASPA was repealed, only Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon had some form of legalized sports betting. However, now several other states have legalized it, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Many more states are in the process of legalizing sports betting.
Why were Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon allowed to offer sports betting?
These states all had laws in place that already permitted sports betting when PASPA came into effect. The states were allowed to keep things as they were, meaning only Nevada had fully legalized sports betting.
Are casino sites legal in the USA?
As it stands right now, 47 states have no laws that prohibit online gambling. Utah, Washington state, and Louisiana are the only states that have laws prohibiting online gambling, but no player has ever been prosecuted.
Are there safe online casinos for US players?
Yes, even though most states do not regulate online casinos, there are many trustworthy off-shore casino sites that will accept players from states all over the USA.
Will more states regulate online gambling?
It currently looks good that more states will regulate online casinos.
How many states have casinos?
If we include tribal casinos, there are 40 states in America that have at least one casino.
How do I deposit funds at an online casino or poker site?
The most common ways to deposit money include Visa, MasterCard, Bitcoin, and Western Union. Some sites will also accept bank wires.