Online gambling in the United States continues to be a hotly debated issue, despite state and federal lawmakers becoming more receptive to new forms of games. This has been largely driven by sports betting and the success of regulated online casinos.
In the beginning, many lawmakers opposed legalizing online gambling, fearing that it could lead to money laundering and other types of crime. This view held true for a long time, and it took a major shift in perception to finally make the concept of legal online gambling more acceptable. However, even as some of these changes occurred, other laws and policies continued to keep the issue from moving forward.
The patchwork of gambling laws across the country has created a situation where some states allow online casino gaming, while others ban it entirely. This is largely because of how some federal laws are interpreted. For example, the Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits gambling transactions that take place across state lines. While a 2011 reinterpretation of the law opened the door for sports betting, it left other forms of gambling off limits.
In addition to the different state regulations, federal laws also play a role in determining whether you can gamble online legally. These rules were originally written to regulate interstate wagering on horse races, but now they also prevent people from placing bets at regulated online casinos and other sites. Despite these issues, there is still much work to be done to fully legalize online casino gaming.
Several states have already taken the step to legalize online sports betting, with Vermont joining the ranks in 2023. While there are no retail casinos in the state, residents will be able to place bets at one of the many tribal casino websites that offer this option. Similarly, Virginia has made it possible to wager on sports and casino games online. However, the state does have a strong stance against social casinos such as Pulsz Casino and therefore does not permit them to be played in the Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, Alaska is one of the only states that hasn’t legalized any type of online casino games. This is likely because the state constitution prohibits lotteries and gambling, so a constitutional amendment would need to be passed before it’s possible to gamble online in the state. While sports betting is now legal in the state, it’s unclear when Alaska will legalize online casinos.