The legality of online gambling in the United States varies from state to state. At the time of writing, 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized online casino games and sports wagering.
In this guide, we’ll show you where and how you can gamble and enjoy casino games legally online across the United States.
Where Is Online Gambling Legal in the US?
Online gambling regulations are ever-changing, with the activity becoming legal in more and more states all the time. Here’s a quick rundown of which states allow online gambling at the time of writing:
- Arizona: Legalized sports betting in April 2021, with a thriving online wagering market and over 30 sportsbooks.
- Arkansas: Online sports betting became legal in February 2022, allowing up to eight online sportsbooks in the state.
- Colorado: Implemented online and retail sports betting in May 2020. There are currently 17 retail sportsbooks and over 20 online betting sites.
- Connecticut: Legalized sports betting in October 2021, with 15 retail sports betting locations and three online platforms for players to choose from.
- District of Columbia: Sports betting was legalized in 2018, with online betting platforms operated by the DC Lottery. It’s also one of the few locations in the US where sports fans can place in-person bets on the game at the stadium.
- Illinois: Legalized sports betting in March 2020 and is now among the five biggest sports betting markets in the country, with 11 retail locations and seven online platforms.
- Indiana: Online sports betting has been available since October 2019, with around 30 sportsbooks in the state.
- Iowa: One of the first states to legalize online sports betting, and the state is also home to several land-based casinos.
- Kansas: Legalized sports betting in May 2022, allowing 12 mobile sportsbooks and wagers at four brick-and-mortar casinos.
- Louisiana: Launched in-person betting in October 2021 and online sportsbooks in January 2022, with around 25 sportsbooks. It’s expected that there will soon be up to 40 mobile sportsbooks operating in the state.
- Maryland: Online betting began in November 2022, with the law permitting up to 60 online sportsbooks in the state (although there are currently only 17 operating).
- Massachusetts: One of the most recent states to allow online betting, in March 2023.
- Michigan: Online sportsbooks launched in January 2021, with 15 licensed online platforms to date.
- Nevada: Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada is the gambling capital of the US, so it’s no surprise that online gambling is also permitted here. There are currently 14 online platforms and over 170 retail sportsbook locations operating in Nevada.
- New Hampshire: There’s currently only one mobile sportsbook allowed in the state.
- New Jersey: Atlantic City is one of the country’s leading gambling destinations, so New Jersey also legalized online gambling earlier than many states, in 2018.
- New York: Legalized sports betting in January 2022, with approximately 10 online sportsbooks. The industry is huge here, with around $800 million being gambled every month, according to Forbes.
- Ohio: Online sports betting launched at the start of 2023.
- Oregon: Legalized sports betting in a few years ago, in 2019, yet there’s still only one operator for mobile wagering.
- Pennsylvania: Retail sports betting started in 2018, with over 30 sportsbooks available.
- Rhode Island: The state has only one operator of mobile wagering, with retail sportsbooks available since 2018.
- Tennessee: It’s the only state that allows online gambling not to have any retail sportsbooks. Sports betting has been legalized since 2019.
- Virginia: Online wagering launched in January 2021, with 14 online platforms operating to date.
- West Virginia: Legalized sports betting in 2018, and has been a key player in regulating online betting and casinos.
- Wyoming: Legalized sports betting in 2021, with four online betting platforms operating at the time of writing.
Offshore vs. US-based Online Casinos
When it comes to online gambling, there are two primary categories to consider: legal online casinos operating within regulated states and offshore online casinos that cater to US-based players despite not being licensed within the country.
There are a couple of differences between the two in terms of legality and regulation, so here’s what you need to know to play legally and safely:
Legality and Regulation
Online casinos that operate within regulated states are licensed and strictly regulated by state gaming authorities. These legal gambling sites in the US comply with specific laws and regulations, ensuring player protection, fair gaming, and secure transactions. They are subject to regular audits and oversight to maintain compliance with industry standards. Such online casinos are only allowed in states like those listed above, where online gambling is legal.
Offshore online casinos, on the other hand, are not licensed or regulated by US authorities. As the name suggests, they are typically based in foreign jurisdictions with their own set of regulations, which can vary widely in terms of player protection and fairness. The lack of local regulation means players have limited protection if any issues arise. They’re not strictly legal across the US, although many players in states where online gambling is not yet permitted make use of these platforms as enforcement of the rules is fairly relaxed.
Player Safety and Security
US-based online casinos prioritize player safety and security, much like land-based casinos operating within the States. They employ the strictest security measures to protect sensitive personal and financial information. These casinos also offer responsible gambling tools, such as self-exclusion options and spending limits, to promote a safe and controlled gaming environment for everyone. In the event of any disputes or issues, players can make use of legal channels and consumer protections.
In contrast, offshore online casinos have varying degrees of security measures in place. Of course, there are many reputable offshore operators that prioritize player safety, but they don’t all adhere to the same high standards.
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