An Overview of US Online Gambling Laws

Online gambling has quickly become one of the largest industries in the world. In the United States, there are opportunities to enjoy online gambling, but first, you must fully understand gambling laws. You may be wondering, is it legal to gamble in my state? How do I get started? By reviewing the proper information, you can fully understand how the US online gambling industry works and how laws apply to you.

The Wire Act of 1961

Decades ago, lawmakers began to consider how gambling should be handled when it was being done by organized crime organizations. Because of underground activity, the Wire Act of 1961 was formed and passed into law. The goal was to stop racketeering and other illegal activity. At the time, it was stopping wire communication for transmitting bets.

Fast forward to 2011, and this law finally changed. Long after the internet was created, the Wire Act was finally changed to reflect current technology. Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice decided to change the legal opinion of the Wire Act. The decision was to decriminalize certain forms of gambling that were illegal in the past.

Basically, the Wire Act now allows operators to offer online casino gaming, poker, bingo and lottery titles. In 2011, sports betting was not included in the legal online activities section. With the passage of this bill, states started to create legislation individually to begin to offer online gambling services.

In 2013, New Jersey and Delaware launched online casino and poker gaming, while Nevada opted to offer online poker only. For years, these states were the only three states that offered such gaming options. It was not until 2017, when Pennsylvania approved a broad measure that would allow online casino and poker gaming in the state. They would not launch any gaming options until 2019.

Today, several other states have also approved online gaming and others are looking to become involved as well. The online gambling industry in the US is only expected to continue to grow as more states legalize various options, ranging from casino to poker and more.

Enter Legal Online Sports Betting

As we mentioned, the Wire Act change did not include sports betting. So how come many states offer online sports betting today? Well, that is all thanks to the decision by the United States Supreme Court to do away with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

The PASPA was associated with the Federal Wire Act to make it illegal to place a bet on sporting events in the US online or via other wire transfer methods. New Jersey was the first state to decide to challenge this law and by 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the measure and states were allowed to legalize the option individually.

Many states already had laws on the books and were ready to go as soon as the law was struck down. It was not long before players in several states had access to online sports betting as well as in-person wagering.

State by State

In the US, each state has the right to pass and enforce laws. Because of this, there are states that offer many forms of gambling, be it online and in person, or states that offer nothing at all. Lawmakers throughout the US are looking at ways to bring in additional revenues to meet budget demands and feel that online gambling is a good option.

It is expected that as more states become involved in the online gambling industry, more will follow.

What States Currently Offer Online Gambling?

In the US, there are a handful of states that offer online casino gaming. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware have all launched services. Michigan just recently passed legislation and is expected to launch before 2020 comes to an end.

When it comes to online poker, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware also make the list, along with Nevada. Michigan also approved online poker and has yet to launch services.

For sports betting, several states have online services, be it via mobile or website. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Montana, Colorado and Illinois are among the states that offer online sports betting. Washington D.C. also offers online sports betting, with Michigan having approved the option but yet to launch.

Overall, the online gambling landscape in the US is constantly changing. As an online gambling enthusiast, it is essential to stay on top of any legislative changes to ensure that you can participate in a legal manner. Be sure to check for details in your given state. In the US, you must be located in a state where gambling is legalized to take part.

With the right know-how, you can easily play online casino games as well as enjoy poker and sports betting.