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Gambling in United States

The United States of America is often portrayed as the gambling capital of the world, but this reputation is due to just a few gaming hotspots - mostly Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In fact, the country as a whole has some of the strictest gambling laws in the western world, although the federal government does not regulate the matter within each state’s boundaries. The states are free to either regulate or completely prohibit gambling on their territories.

A small number of states and sovereign tribal lands therefore permit casino style gambling in designated areas. As it stands now, a significant portion of the American populace must take extensive trips if they wish to play the slots or wager their money on table games

The most widely available game in the US is the lottery. There are only two states, Hawaii and Utah, which allow neither casino gambling nor a lottery.

Online Gambling in United States

Many online casinos and poker rooms offered their services to Americans in the early days of the industry, but their activities have since been shut down. While there are no specific laws banning online gambling, The Federal Wire Act of 1961 has been systematically interpreted and used in courts to disallow internet wagers.

In 2006, the US Federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act, outlawing all forms of online gambling. After the bill passed, however, three major poker sites – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker – continued to offer their services, expecting that the law did not affect them. So in 2011, the US government initiated legal proceedings against the three, resulting in the outright banning of all online gambling.

American institutions continued to ruthlessly enforce this law until a new law was passed in 2012, allowing individual states to license online and mobile casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites within their borders.

While you would expect a rush of states to take the federal government up on that offer, in fact only 3 states have: Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. Nevada was first, but only offered poker and sportsbooks, while Delaware went live at the start of November 2013, and New Jersey at the end, both offering a full range of gambling options.

The US continues to block foreign based websites, and does not allow interstate gambling, with individual states employing geo-location software to ensure these laws are adhered to. As such, your options for online gambling in the US are severely restricted.