Online gambling isn’t always legal in every state. Some laws don’t explicitly allow or prohibit it, but rather leave the decision to state lawmakers to decide whether it should be. This allows states to chip away at the widespread federal bans and regulate the gaming options available to their residents. This approach has also opened the door to new forms of online gambling that weren’t around when UIEGA passed into law, like daily fantasy games and eSports betting.
While it isn’t always easy to keep up with the changing landscape of can you gamble online legally, there are some clear-cut wins for players in the United States. Delaware and Nevada were among the first to launch iGaming markets back in 2012, with New Jersey joining them in 2017 and West Virginia following suit in 2019. These states have gotten in early on the action and have some of the most extensive iGaming offerings on the market, working with operators such as FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM.
Other states are taking a more cautious approach, including Hawaii, which has the strictest anti-gambling laws in the nation and only offers land-based casinos. This may not change anytime soon, as Gov. David Ige has said he wants to wait until 2024 to see how sports betting takes off before considering allowing online casino play.
Another tricky case is Kentucky, which launched sports betting in September of 2023 but did so without allowing online casino play. This is due to Churchill Downs being in the state, a company that doesn’t want its sportsbook operations to be affected by online wagering. Louisiana is in a similar position, with the matter being grouped into a parish-by-parish decision. Massachusetts, on the other hand, jumped straight into online sports betting in March of 2023 but didn’t rush to include online casino play as well.
Connecticut is a different story, as it’s one of only two states to legalize online casino gambling to date. It was only recently made possible through a partnership between the state’s two largest tribal operators and DraftKings and FanDuel. The state’s other online casino operator, the state-owned 888, isn’t allowed to operate in Connecticut at this time.
Pennsylvania has taken a similar approach with its online gambling regulations, opting to skip the process of licensing individual sites and instead allow iGaming to be overseen by the state’s lottery commission. It’s a model that has worked so far, and it could help other states avoid the pitfalls that have hindered their own efforts at legalizing the activity. This is why it’s important to double-check the current regulations in your state before gambling online. State and federal laws can change at any moment, so be sure to check back regularly to ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest laws before making your bets. This way, you’ll know you’re playing legally in the most convenient manner for your circumstances.