Can You Gamble Online Legally in the United States?

When it comes to can you gamble online legally, the answer depends on what state you live in. In the United States, each state determines what kind of gambling it allows within its borders, where that gambling can take place and who is allowed to gamble. In addition, each state determines its own minimum age for gambling and some states have different requirements depending on the type of gambling activity.

Until 2011, the vast majority of states did not have legal online gambling, but that changed after lottery officials in New York and Illinois asked the Justice Department for some guidance before they could start selling their lottery tickets online. The Justice Department reinterpreted the federal Wire Act in 2011 and that opened the door for individual states to legalize certain kinds of online gaming.

In the year following that, a handful of states began to offer legal online casino games, poker and sports betting. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey were first to open up real-money gaming sites and they were soon joined by Pennsylvania and West Virginia. However, in 2019 the Department of Justice reverted back to its original interpretation of the Wire Act and that made it more difficult for states to launch these types of sites.

Today, there are six states that offer regulated online casino gambling and a number of other states have enacted laws to allow for a limited amount of online poker and other forms of iGaming. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the two biggest operators of regulated online casinos and they have partnered with several major players such as BetMGM and Caesars to bring their brands to their respective markets. West Virginia is another big iGaming market and it recently launched its first legal online casinos. There are also several top-tier sportsbooks operating in the state and these include DraftKings and FanDuel.

Online casinos are not yet available in Georgia, but the state is working on bringing regulated sports betting to the state by the end of this year. Social casinos are available in the state and that could create a pathway for regulated online casino gaming in the future.

Online gambling is legal in Montana, but it takes place only through licensed kiosks. Social casinos are not permitted and the state legislature has failed to introduce any bills that would change these regulations in the past.