What the US law says about casinos

Places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City might be considered as the casino capitals of the world, but the United States as a nation is not so keen on casino gambling as you might think. There are a lot of states that ban casino and sports gambling online like on sitesbetting.co.uk (some even prohibit all types of gambling), and here we will talk about the general rules and laws about casinos in the US.

Where Are Casinos Legal?

Casino-style gambling including poker, blackjack, roulette, slots, etc, is legal statewide in only two US states – Nevada and Louisiana. Nevada is also one of four states where it is legal to play real money casino online. Some states allow casino gambling but only in certain regions. Examples of this are Atlantic City in New Jersey, Tunica in Mississippi, etc.

Where Are Casinos Illegal?

Basically everywhere else. Some states, however, found a sort of a loophole in the law, where you are not prohibited from casino gambling if you are off the coast. That’s why there are riverboats in some states that exclusively hold casino gambling. In other states, casinos are illegal, but laws exclude certain tribal regions, like Native American reservations located near big cities.

Native American Casinos

By the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, the states have stepped away from limiting gambling operations in Native American reservations. That’s why a lot of Indian casinos are able to legally function even within some states that forbid gambling of all sorts. However, Indiana, Maine, Utah, Virginia, South Carolina, and Rhode Island treat tribal casinos as an illegal activity nevertheless.

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

The US federal government introduced this act in 2006 which states that: “No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling”. This includes casino gambling, so by the federal law, no online websites with the US domain have the right to take casino bets from players. This law caused a lot of controversies, as some believe that the act only sweeps gambling under the carpet.

Playing On Foreign Online Casinos

There is no federal law that prohibits an individual to place bets on an online casino that is not based in the United States. However, some foreign casinos have listed the United States as a restricted country, so you might not be able to bet on them anyway.

Connections Between Casino Laws And Organized Crime

Historically speaking, a lot of casinos were connected or operated by some illegal organizations. The federal court tried to fight this over the years and that’s why a lot of groundbreaking acts have been passed like the RICO act, Illegal Gambling Business Act, etc.


If you are easily influenced by movies, you have probably considered the US to be the country where gambling is common and fully acceptable both lawfully and socially. The truth, however, is that only a few places and states allow casinos to legally operate. Make sure you know the law before playing your favorite casino game next time, both in “real-life” or in online casinos.