Gambling is very common across the US; however, casinos are illegal in some US states. At state level, gambling is subject to a diverse range of regulations. For example, gambling is totally outlawed in Utah, Texas, and Alaska, while Louisiana and Nevada are the only states where casino-style gambling is legal statewide.
Each state has its unique legality around gambling, whether it be sports betting, casinos, or lotteries. This guide will explore how gambling laws differ between 4 US states.
Virginia Gambling Laws
The state of Virginia was formally subjected to strict gambling laws, but these restrictions have grown more lax in recent years. Charitable gambling has been legal since 1973 while a state-wide lottery has been held since 1988. Wagered horse racing, on the other hand, was made legal in 1989. However, online gambling and sports betting were illegal for decades.
In 2020, the General Assembly legalized casinos, iLottery, and sports wagering. The first licensed sports book began accepting wagers in 2021.
While it’s taken a while to get started, state residents can now have access to the best online casino Virginia.
In terms of age restrictions, you need to be 18 to partake in bingo, horse race betting, the lottery, and poker rooms. However, you need to be 21 to use an online casino in Virginia.
Utah Gambling Restrictions
Utah is seriously anti-gambling. While many US states with formally strict gambling laws have slowly begun to legalize the practice in recent years, Utah remains stubbornly against gambling altogether.
Gambling is classed as a Class B Misdemeanour across the state. If you’re repeatedly caught gambling in Utah, there’s a high chance that you’ll get charged with a Class A Misdemeanour.
Specifically, Utah law makes it illegal for any Utah citizen to bet on something of value in the outcome of a game, scheme, contest, or gaming device. It lists horse racing/off-track betting, dog racing, gambling, and casinos as all being prohibited.
You won’t find any physical casinos within the state of Utah; nor will you be able to enter a lottery or charity raffles.
The only other state this level of restrictiveness is comparable to is Hawaii. The Aloha State similarly prohibits gambling and casinos – cruise ships aren’t even allowed to support gambling activity once in the state’s jurisdiction.
Nevada Gambling Laws
Nevada, on the other hand, has comparatively few gambling restrictions.
Gambling is completely unrestricted – this means that dealing, operating, playing, and being exposed to gambling are all prohibited. Licensed horse racing, off-track betting, dog racing, and charitable lotteries are all legal.
Given this, it’s no wonder that Nevada is referred to as everything from Sin City to the entertainment capital of the world.
Gambling is been legal in the state for nearly 100 years. Around the time of the building of Hoover Dam, a mass influx of tourists was drawn to Las Vegas, which already had a reputation for illegal gambling. Looking to capitalize on the rising tourist levels, the state made gambling totally legal in 1931.
Since then, its casinos have only grown bigger and more elaborate, drawing in millions of gamblers every year.
Despite its huge gambling culture, it may surprise you that there is currently no self-exclusion law in Nevada. While those in Nevada can exclude themselves from receiving promotional material and sign-up bonuses for online and mobile gambling sites, there’s nothing legal in place that would allow for someone with a gambling problem to self-exclude themselves from actually gambling.
However, that’s not to say responsible gambling isn’t encouraged. You must be 21 to place a bet in Nevada. Plus, under the regulations set out by the Nevada Gaming Commission and Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos cannot permit someone who is visibly drunk to partake in any form of gambling activity.
Louisiana Gambling Restrictions
While Nevada normally tops lists ranking the biggest gambling states in the US, Louisiana is normally not too far behind. Despite the immense popularity of gambling in Louisiana, the state is fairly restricted when it comes to certain aspects of gaming.
There are 4 federally-approved Indian Casinos and 43 casinos that are state-licensed. It is on these premises that most of the state’s gambling takes place, although horse racing, dog racing, and riverboat gambling are also all legal.
To gamble at a table or slot machine, or partake in most other forms of gambling, you need to be 21 in Louisiana.
However, internet gambling is completely illegal in Louisiana. If you are caught playing online poker or partaking in an online casino game, you could either be fined a minimum of $500 or be imprisoned for a minimum of 6 months. In some instances, the person may have to both serve prison time and also pay a significant fine.
Each of the 50 US states has its own state-level gambling laws and restrictions. While some states like Nevada are more liberal when it comes to gambling, Utah and Hawaii are much more restrictive when it comes to gambling, with no form of gaming permitted at all. States like Virginia and Louisiana sit somewhere in the middle – gambling is legal, although restrictions are imposed.