While legal online sports betting has been launched in upwards of 30 states, online casino play remains a bit more of a grey area. Regardless, many players have asked the question: can you gamble online legally? The short answer is yes, but the long answer involves a wide range of factors including state-specific laws, banking options and more. In this article, the Inquistr looks at all 50 states to see what options are available for online gambling, and how much the state can impact your experience.
The first state to launch legal online casinos and poker was New Jersey in 2013, followed by Delaware and Nevada in 2014. Pennsylvania joined the party in 2017 and offers one of the most robust iGaming markets, with the likes of BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBET all operating there. Rhode Island is expected to launch its online casino market in early 2024.
Despite being home to Churchill Downs, Kentucky is one of the few states that does not allow its residents to wager on online casinos or real money gambling sites. However, the Bluegrass State does have a number of horse racetracks and retail sportsbooks that do allow residents to place wagers. The state’s legislative efforts to expand iGaming have been unsuccessful thus far.
Maryland is another state that does not permit its citizens to gamble on online casinos or real money games, but it did legalize sports betting in 2020. The state is currently working to change its gambling laws, but until those efforts gain traction, Maryland will continue to be a land-based only market for sports and casino betting.
Hawaii is perhaps the most restrictive state when it comes to gambling, as its residents are unable to make any wagers on online casinos or real money games. However, the Aloha State does have a responsible gaming program that includes educational guides and access to support services.
Unlike other iGaming markets, which often require licenses from gambling regulators to operate, California does not have any such requirements. Instead, it relies on its existing gambling laws to enforce responsible gambling. The state also has a self-exclusion program that allows its residents to remove themselves from the state’s gambling platforms for a period of time.