Gambling is legal in 48 states across the United States, with only Utah and Hawaii banning online betting. While federal laws like the UIGEA and the Wire Act do not criminalize the activity, they prohibit financial institutions from processing wagers on unregulated offshore sites. As a result, players have to be aware of these state-specific regulations before they place any real money wagers. The good news is that online gambling laws are becoming more accepted by state and local lawmakers, as well as the public at large. In fact, sports wagering has become a major driver for state-level officials to make changes to their laws and allow wagering in the digital sphere.
In 2021, Pennsylvania became the first state to launch legal iGaming, with its iGaming industry now valued at more than $4 billion. The Keystone State’s iGaming options include casino games, live sports betting and regulated internet poker sites. In addition, residents in the state can now wager on horse races and greyhound dogs via their smartphones.
New Jersey has a similar iGaming setup, allowing residents to play real-money casino games and use mobile apps for live sports betting. The Garden State is now home to some of the biggest names in iGaming, including the likes of BetMGM and FanDuel.
Kentucky is another state that has seen the light and made changes to their laws to allow for online sports wagering. Churchill Downs is located in the Bluegrass State, making it one of the country’s most famous gambling destinations. Kentucky has yet to offer any retail casinos, however, and is grouping sports betting into a parish-by-parish model.
Similarly, Louisiana also groups its sports wagering into parishes rather than as a state-wide option. The Bayou State allows for sports wagering at a few of its tribal casinos, but has not yet launched an online casino. The state could see a change in its position, as Governor John Bel Edwards supports legalizing sports wagering and is considering changing the current laws.
Connecticut was a little bit slower to get on board with iGaming, but the state did finally pass a bill in 2021 to allow for a few legal online casinos. Players in the Constitution State can now access DraftKings Casino and FanDuel Casino, with additional operators potentially joining the pair in the near future. In 2022, Texas saw its first legal online casino launch, with the state partnering with 888 to provide its residents with a limited number of gaming options.