Online gambling has made it easier for people to gamble without visiting casinos or racetracks, with gambling laws differing according to state. Some states have entirely banned or regulated it while in others it’s limited or forbidden altogether. Placing bets on sports or other events could incur fines or even jail time – it is therefore imperative to thoroughly research what laws exist within your state before you gamble online or offline.
The first online casinos emerged in the early 1990s. These websites allowed players to deposit funds using credit cards and then wager them in various casino-like games of chance or skill. As their popularity soared, Congress attempted to pass laws to regulate this industry; however, attempts were ultimately futile; instead the United States has adopted an approach tailored specifically for each state when creating online gaming policies.
At present, more than 20 states and DC provide legal online gambling to residents, including casinos, sports betting and poker rooms. Many of these sites are licensed and regulated by state gaming commissions while some even employ third-party testing agencies to ensure fair gameplay and professional customer service.
There are, of course, exceptions to this state-by-state regulation of gambling; gambling remains illegal in Utah and Hawaii for example; several states including Iowa prohibit online gambling – these laws will likely not change anytime soon – yet many more states may introduce some form of online gambling in the future.
New York stands as an excellent example of this trend. While some states impose stringent anti-gambling laws, New York is open to legalizing online gambling. Their gaming commission regularly conducts auditing and verification checks on licensees while publicly disclosing which companies hold contracts with the state.
Californian efforts to legalize online gambling have been hindered by dissension over its relationship with Native American tribes. A competing referendum is scheduled for fall 2022 and may have an outsized influence over whether online gambling becomes legal.
Nevada recently passed legislation permitting sports wagering at its land-based casinos and plans to establish its own online gaming portal sometime around 2023. Colorado has already begun taking sports bets since the Supreme Court struck down PASPA; however, player prop bets for in-state college teams remain limited. Indiana, Massachusetts and Illinois are currently considering legalizing online gambling. No matter which states introduce legal online casinos, it is always wise to research their laws before deciding to gamble online or not. Since gambling laws change rapidly in various jurisdictions, make sure you stay up-to-date on developments within your state so as to avoid any issues associated with unlicensed sites.