The short answer to the question of can you gamble online legally is yes, but it’s important to note that gambling laws vary by state. Some states, such as Hawaii and Utah, ban all forms of gaming while others, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have fully legalized sports betting. Additionally, the federal government imposes a number of restrictions on gambling, particularly with regard to the processing of payments to and from unregulated online gambling sites.
The good news is that the UIGEA and the Wire Act are both being gradually lifted, opening the door for more states to pass and implement gambling laws that make it legal to wager real money on a variety of online casino games and other types of iGaming. However, the process of introducing these types of games into a particular state’s gambling landscape is a long one that can be influenced by both political and financial considerations.
Some of the most popular online gambling games include regulated iGaming casino games, regulated online poker and regulated daily fantasy sports. These games differ from traditional casino gambling in that they do not involve a live dealer and are played on the player’s own time frame, rather than relying on the elapsed hands of a live game. Nevertheless, these types of iGaming games can still prove addictive for many players.
New Jersey became the first state to introduce regulated online gambling when it launched its legal sports betting site in February of 2013, and wagers were being placed online within days. The Garden State is also home to seven retail casinos, which have been licensed to offer regulated online gambling services. Florida, one of the most populous U.S. states, is another state where the potential for online gambling is high, but it hasn’t yet moved forward with legislation to allow it.
While New York and California have introduced iGaming bills, it’s unlikely that either will become legal anytime soon. In fact, it’s likely that the two largest states will continue to be ranked behind smaller ones in terms of their readiness to offer regulated iGaming.
In 2021, Alabama put sports betting on the table, but it was ultimately halted in favor of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bluegrass State of Kentucky is an interesting case in that while Churchill Downs is located in the state, online sports betting isn’t available to its residents. Online casino games, however, are legal in Kentucky.