Gambling culture is big in the US. Betting on sports such as baseball and NFL is integrated heavily in the sport experience, whilst there are Vegas, Oklahoma, and New Jersey boast some of the largest casinos in the world.
Since lockdown restrictions have impacted casinos from being open, many are turning to online casinos. What they may not have realized is that online casinos have been a growing trend for decades now, with rapid developments in the games.
Top online casinos for US gamblers are providing gamified games where you can get through different levels of varying difficulty, immersed in complex themes, and even compete against others through leaderboards. The global online gaming industry is in a synergy market right now, with constant innovations. There are even online casinos offering cryptocurrency as the base currency.
However, it’s not all good news of course. Operating most laws on a State level, the USA has become further divided over the legality of gaming online. Whilst it’s perfectly legal to walk into a casino in Vegas, it’s currently illegal to gamble online in the very same State.
This article will look at where you can and can’t legally game at online casinos within the US
States where it’s illegal to play online casino games
There are 42 states in which online casino games are illegal to play. Some of these states include New York, Washington, California, Nevada, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Rhode Island, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Maine, Iowa, and Maryland.
The laws are a little more nuanced than a blanket law. For example, Nevada currently operates one of the largest online gambling regulations for poker, which is perfectly legal to play online. Not only this, but you can also bet on sports in Nevada too, along with some other games. However, like with the rest of these States, traditional casino slot and table games are not regulated to play online, and thus are illegal.
Many lawmakers have tried to push through legislation, such as in California, to make online casino games legal. However, in the instance of California, it looks likely that the law will be pushed through eventually in a couple of years. This is something to keep an eye on in your
own State: laws are often trying to be passed, and generally, it seems that the nationwide tide is going towards online casino games being legal.
States where it’s legal to play online casino games
There are four States in which online casino games are perfectly legal to play: New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In these four lucky states, residents are free to play online games just like they can in physical casinos.
Many of these states, such as Pennsylvania, only recently passed laws. In this instance, it was in 2017 where playing online poker for real money was legal. Actually, it was casino games that had priority over poker, with it being legal to play online slots since 2004.
If you’re looking to play online casino games in these States, it’s still important to ensure that the casino you decide to sign up is in fact licensed and regulated. Many casinos are foreign and act as if they’re licensed, but are not. This could pose a serious risk to customers, where deposited money can be lost and laws may be broken.
States where it’s planned to become legal to play online casino games
There are currently four states in the process of making online casino games legal to play. Whilst the laws are yet to be fully actioned and legalized, it’s only a matter of time before online casino games are playable.
The four states are: Michigan, Virginia, Massachusetts and Indiana. If we take Michigan for example, there’s a sequential element to their law changes. In March, sports betting became legal online, even on online casino platforms. Next up will be the legalization of online table games. By 2021, they plan on awarding online casinos licensing themselves.
It seems although, like the cannabis law change, things take time. Whilst online casino games such as slots are only currently available in four States, it will be four more in a matter of months. Sports betting is often the first one to be legalized because it’s seen as less risky and more normalized in American culture.
However, with traditional casinos struggling to remain open during the lockdown, there will surely be some additional pressure to pass through online casino laws. This could be a second, diversified revenue stream for many traditional casinos, many of which are currently closing down.
It’s also thought that traditional and online casinos will merge together in other ways too. For example, many physical casinos are starting to offer VR casino games inside the casinos, as well as other online casinos. This means that the leaderboards and all-round experience will become more closely tied between the two.