While it may seem as if online gambling and sports betting, being hugely popular activities in the US, are legal across the country, in reality, these pastimes are heavily regulated and illegal in many states in the USA. Under federal law, gambling is legal, which is why there are casinos across the country. However, there are restrictions on online gambling, with each state being free to come up with its own rules and regulations around the practice. This has led to a wide disparity in terms of legality across different states in the country. At the same time, while sports betting was effectively banned across the country from 1992 onwards, a recent Supreme Court ruling in 2018 declared that law unconstitutional and thus paved the way for states to allow sports betting as well. Thus, at present, different states have different laws for different types of gambling, and it can get confusing for fans if they want to know if they are in danger of breaking any laws, depending on where they are in the country. This is why there are several sites with a detailed state-wise breakdown of the country’s gambling laws, you can view all the legal states on the latest list on the Gamble USA website.
At present, only ten of the 56 states and territories has legalized online betting, with the numbers being slightly better for sports betting, with 19 states having made it legal for sports betting to take place in their territory. There are a number of states trying to work on legislation towards legalizing online gambling and sports betting, and we will list these states where there is the potential for online gambling to be made legal in the near future.
Michigan – Michigan saw online sports betting being legalized in December 2019, along with online poker and online casinos, and so fans in the state can now legally play on websites. This law does not apply to multi-state operators, however, and so it is restricted to gambling operators from within the state itself.
Virginia – While there are no plans at the moment to legalize online casinos, the state did allow online sports betting, in a bill passed in April 2020, making it legal for fans to place bets on sporting events effective from July 1st, in the state.
Illinois – It is a similar story in Illinois, where online sports betting was legalized in June 2019, with websites set to launch this year, but there being no plans for the same being extended to online casinos.
Tennessee – Online sports betting was made legal in the state in April 2019, with sites launching this year. Again, there are no provisions on the horizon for online casinos or card game websites.
These are some of the more recent developments in the USA, with these states being the latest ones to legalize some from of online betting. Crucially though, it seems as if there is lesser opposition towards online sports betting than towards online gambling, and it is entirely possible that online sports betting will be legal across the country in a couple of years. It is a more difficult path for online casinos though, and the list of states legalizing the practice will increase at a much slower rate.