10+ Facts about Online Gambling in the United States

Recently the United States changed gambling laws to allow individual states to operate online casino sites and sportsbooks. Since then, five states have entered the online market and many more are working on new laws that will allow for the operation of online casino sites and betting websites to residents of the state.

On a federal level, online gambling has never been strictly illegal in the USA. However, most online gambling laws in the USA in 2019 have been made on a state-by-state basis.

Until 2013, most Americans had to risk their funds at offshore casinos and poker sites. But the legal landscape is changing.

New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada were first to take advantage of a relaxation in the laws. They launched the first legalized online casinos and poker sites, and other states are following.

In 2019, online sportsbooks are legal in the US if individual states want to permit them. And as more and more Americans drive across state borders to have a bet, states who would have traditionally banned online gambling are coming along for the ride.

Do any US states ban gambling?

Gambling is a popular pastime in the US and many residents have visited local land-based casinos to play exciting games.

Now that online casinos are available there is the option to access the same games from home either by visiting state run sites or offshore casinos. There are just two U.S. states that completely ban gambling activities: Utah and Hawaii.

In those states, it’s hard even to find lotteries, but Hawaii has introduced some social gaming as long as it’s restricted to private properties.

In Utah, all gambling is illegal. However, since the laws on sportsbetting were relaxed, Utah looked like it might legalize some pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. The bill was ultimately withdrawn.

Online poker has been popular in the US ever since Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker. You can now find some great legal online poker sites in the US.

Many offshore sites operated in the US under a gray legal area. But when UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) hit in 2006 and 2007, many overseas sites withdrew from the States.

Other poker rooms have continued to operate unhindered in the US. But after the DoJ’s reinterpretation of the Wire Act in 2011, individual states were allowed to introduce their own legal and regulated poker sites.

Nevada and New Jersey were first to license and open online poker rooms. Some of the world’s largest poker operators now have US-facing poker sites. However, players in New Jersey and Nevada can’t compete online against players based overseas. One of the great benefits of playing online is that you can enjoy interstate poker against players from New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. In 2019, Pennsylvania and West Virginia legalized online poker sites.

Are online lottery games available?

There are six states that currently offer legal online lottery access. You can purchase tickets to some of the highest-paying lottery games in the country, including Mega Millions and Powerball.

The current states that have legal online lottery sites up and running include Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, and New Hampshire. Despite its liberal approach to online gambling, New Jersey only has offline lotteries across the state.

Other states are expected to follow suit later in 2019 or early 2020 with lottery legislation. Pennsylvania’s PA iLottery should arrive by 2020 too. Delaware may also introduce legalized online lotteries in the next year or so.

From 1992 to 2018, there was a federal ban on sports betting, but the PASPA was repealed in 2018, allowing states to legalize sports betting. The 1992 law did offer immunity to four individual states that already allowed legal sports wagering: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana.

Since the laws changed, a number of states have started to license and operate sportsbooks, including New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Arkansas.

You can, of course, still bet on sports in huge land-based sportsbooks in Nevada. Las Vegas has the largest sportsbooks in the world. Pari-mutuel betting, or pooled betting, is available at many racetracks across the US, even in states that traditionally have banned single-match sports betting.

In 2019, New York and North Carolina passed sports betting legislation, and Michigan could also approve new laws.

What states have online sportsbooks in 2020?

Even though a number of states have legalized sports betting within the borders, not all of them have legalized online betting.

However, many states are currently working on laws that will allow for online wagering to take place. For now, you can enjoy online sportsbooks in the states of New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada.

Lawmakers in Michigan are aware that locals can drive a mile across the border to Indiana to place sports bets. Michigan may therefore legalize sports betting by early 2020.

In the pipeline are bills that would legalize fantasy sports gambling and online betting. However, bets would be restricted to the state’s tribal casinos and larger casinos based in Detroit.

Can I bet on college sports in the US? You will find that leading sportsbooks will allow you to place wagers on college events across the United States.

This includes being able to bet on March Madness, which is one of the most popular college tournaments played each year.

Each state is allowed to set specific laws pertaining to college betting. Some states will not allow you to wager on college events or teams in the state, while others do not have any restrictions at all. New Jersey is one state that does not allow residents to wager on any NJ-based team or college event taking place in the state.

States like Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Jersey now allow bets on individual college sports after the rules were relaxed.

How can I manage online betting accounts?

When you are located in a state that allows any form of online gambling, you will be able to manage your real money accounts with ease. The operating betting sites like 888Sport, Unibet NJ, BetAmerica, PaBets, and BetRvers, take steps to protect all financial information and will process transactions using SSL encryption software.

You will find that each site offers a different selection of banking methods, but you will easily be able to find sites allowing the use of credit and debit cards like MasterCard and Visa, eWallets like Neteller and PayPal, prepaid cards, and bank transfers.

What states are next in line to legalize online gambling?

Many states are looking at adopting new laws that would allow residents to place wagers online or using a mobile device. Most states are currently focusing on online sports betting over online casinos. In the coming year, you will find a huge surge in the industry and many states will have passed new online gambling laws.

The states that have made strides to enact new online gambling laws include Ohio, California, South Carolina, Montana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois and Kentucky.

California could legalize online casinos and online poker in the next two years. Michigan could have online casinos and sportsbooks by 2021, and New Hampshire should have online sports betting by 2020.

In Pennsylvania, where gambling laws have been hugely relaxed, online poker could arrive by 2020, as could Daily Fantasy Sports.

Daily fantasy sports betting has become extremely popular in the United States, and there are about 40 states that legally allow you to engage in this type of betting. Major sites like FanDuel, Yahoo DFS, Draft and DraftKings already accept bets from gray-area states right across the country. There are certain states that restrict DFS betting and these include Iowa, Montana, Arizona, Washington and Louisiana. DFS betting is legal in Nevada, though the state does require sites to hold a state-issued license to operate and offer real-money wagering to residents.

Pennsylvania has paved the way for legalized Daily Fantasy Sports and it could arrive by 2020.

Do any US states ban gambling?

Gambling is a popular pastime in the US and many residents have visited local land casinos to play exciting games. Now that online casinos are available there is the option to access the same games from home either by visiting state run sites or offshore casinos. There are just two US states that completely ban gambling activities, and those are Utah and Hawaii. 

How Do You Start Gambling In The USA?

There is more legalized and regulated gambling in the US than ever. But you have to be mindful of individual state laws. Because there is no federal law on gambling, each state has different legal ages for everything from sports betting to poker and lottery to horse racing. Check out our state-by-state guide and check the minimum legal age for each different market. Reputable sites will also carry information on responsible gambling and where to get help in the US if you have a problem.

First, you will need to sign up for an account. Before you register, make sure you are of legal age to play and – if applicable – located in the correct state in order to play for real money. If your VPN reveals you are outside the jurisdiction you won’t be able to open an account.

How To Open An Online Gambling Account In The US?

  1. Enter your personal information. This includes your name, date of birth, and email. You will have to create a unique username and password to proceed. You may also have to answer at least two security questions for future access.
  2. Enter your home address and Social Security Number. Under state gaming laws in places like New Jersey and Nevada, a valid SSN is required in order to verify your state of residence and age. It’s also used to report any taxable winnings to the IRS.
  3. Create your account. You will be sent a confirmation email. Click on the message to complete the registration process.
  4. Install geolocation software. To verify your location, you may have to install a geolocation program like GeoComply. This is used by gambling sites to confirm you are within state lines when you log on and play. You may also have to send a copy of your photo ID (passport, driver’s license) and a recent utility bill when making a first withdrawal.
  5. Make a deposit and get a welcome bonus. Once you have registered your account, you are free to make a first deposit and start gambling. You can take advantage of a no deposit bonus or load your account with a valid US banking option and claim some free cash when you bet.

Gambling Tax In The United States

In the US, gambling winnings may have to be reported to the Inland Revenue Service (IRS). In most cases, the gambling site will inform the IRS when paying out winnings. Some tax may be withheld too. The stipulations are quite clear on whether you need to pay tax and inform the IRS. Under state laws, the gambling sites must inform the IRS if a bet is big enough to be taxed. The IRS also requires you to keep records of all your gambling wins and losses. It’s important to keep hold of tickets and payment slips (if you are betting in a land-based bookmaker or casino), or printouts of your online gambling account record.

You will need details of:

  • Date of wager
  • Type of game/activity
  • Name and address of casino or sportsbook
  • Total winnings or losses

You can also deduct losses from your overall tax liability. In many cases, you may have more losses than winnings so it’s vital you keep track when it comes to filing a return.

Game or wager paying over $600 at odds of 300/1 or more:

  • Customer receives a form W-2G for every qualifying bet. Forms are generated automatically
  • Player must report win on annual tax return and pay a flat 25 percent tax
  • A copy is sent to the IRS and the customer

Game or wager paying $5,000 or more at odds of 300/1:

  • Gambling site withholds 25 percent of total payout for payment to the IRS
  • W-2G forms are created automatically
  • A copy is sent to the IRS and the customer

In general, gambling winnings in America include money earned from all casino games, sports bets, horse racing bets, raffles, and poker. Individual states like Nevada and New Jersey also have some flat tax laws on lottery winnings.

Gambling Age In Your State

The minimum gambling age in the United States differs from state to state, from activity to activity. For example, you can start gambling on horse racing from age of 18 in Massachusetts, but from age of 21 in Iowa. Check out US gambling age guide.

Payment Methods For Online Gambling In The USA

For American Gambling you can use different and popular payment methods, both for depositing and withdrawals. Land-based, online sportsbooks and casinos accept Visa and Master Cards, Prepaid Cards and Checks. For online wagering you can use paypal, ewallets, cryptocurrency and PayNearMe options.

Biggest Gambling Events In The USA

Some of the world’s biggest sports events and horse races take place every year in the US. And where there is a major sporting contest there are millions of dollars being wagered on it. Here are five of the biggest.

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the NFL’s annual showpiece, the game played annually between the NFC (National Football Conference) and AFC (American Football Conference) champions. Over 100m viewers tune in to the Super Bowl, and in 2019 it is estimated that nearly $200m of bets were placed on the game across bookmakers in Nevada and New Jersey.

US gamblers can now place bets on the Super Bowl via legalized sportsbooks online in New Jersey, PA and Delaware. Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites also offer markets and big-money guarantees on the match outcome and props.

WHEN TO GAMBLE on Super Bowl: February
WHERE TO BET: Land-based sportsbooks (Nevada, New Jersey), online sportsbooks (Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), DFS sites.
TOTAL WAGERED (estimated): $181 million (2019 Super Bowl)

Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I race and one of the largest thoroughbred meets in the USA. It takes place at Belmont Park in New York every June. Sir Winston pulled off a 10/1 shock in June 2019 by winning the $1.5m Belmont Stakes. It is a huge American gambling event.

WHEN TO GAMBLE on Belmont Stakes: June
WHERE TO BET: NYRA Bets, 4NJBets, DRF Bets, land-based sportsbooks, pari-mutuel racetracks, online sportsbooks (Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), online horse racing sites, DFS sites
TOTAL WAGERED (estimated): $102m (2019)

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the oldest horse races in the world and ran its 145th meet in 2019. Over $250m was wagered on the race from all sources for the 2019 race – an 11% increase on the race from 2018. TwinSpires, the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, handled over $30m in bets on the race alone.

WHEN TO GAMBLE on Kentucky Derby: April
WHERE TO BET: NYRA Bets, 4NJBets, TwinSpires, land-based sportsbooks, pari-mutuel racetracks, online sportsbooks (Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), online horse racing sites, DFS sites
TOTAL WAGERED (estimated): $250.9m (2019)

NBA Finals

The NBA Finals is the season-end championship series for the National Basketball Association (NBA). The six-game series was contested between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, with the Raptors triumphing 4-2. For the 2019 NBA Finals, over $50m was wagered at Nevada sportsbooks alone. That was an increase of $19m on the previous year’s Finals.

WHEN TO GAMBLE on NBA Finals: May-June
WHERE TO BET: Land-based sportsbooks (Nevada, New Jersey), online sportsbooks (Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), DFS sites
TOTAL WAGERED (estimated): $51m (Nevada sportsbooks)

US Open Tennis

The US Open is one of the biggest tennis events of the year and is, along with Wimbledon, the French Open, and the Australian Open, one of four Grand Slam tournaments. Tennis is now a major market for online sportsbook and DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) gamblers in the US. In summer 2019, DraftKings reported that the Wimbledon men’s final was the biggest single match for tennis in its history. The 2019 US Open could surpass that.

The US Open in 2018 was won by Novak Djokovic in the men’s and Naomi Osaka in the ladies. $53m in prize money was awarded in total.

WHEN TO GAMBLE ON US Open: August-September
WHERE TO BET: Land-based sportsbooks (Nevada, New Jersey), online sportsbooks (Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), DFS sites
TOTAL WAGERED (estimated): n/a


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