Current Online Gambling Law by US State
Although the Wire Act of 1961 ruling was made in 2011, you may be surprised to learn that as of September 2017, online gambling has still only been legalised and regulated in three out of America’s 50 states, with two other states cautiously poised to follow suit.
Below you’ll find a summary of the online gambling laws in each of the currently regulated states – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware – as well as an update of the two states that may soon be regulated –Pennsylvania and California:
Nevada Online Gambling Law
Called ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World,’ the desert town of Las Vegas has attracted gambling fans from the US and abroad since the 1930s. But in February 2013 it entered a new and exciting gambling realm with the passing of Nevada Assembly Bill 114.
Designed to open the way for the legalisation, regulation and taxation of online gambling (currently limited to online poker) in the state, Bill 114 has given Nevada the authority to enter into interstate compacts (agreements between two or more American states) to offer online poker to players 21 or older.
Bill 114 also secured Nevada’s place in the history books as the first US state to approve interstate online gambling. Ironically, it was partly due to pressure from the major Nevada land casino resorts that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed.
To date the Nevada Gaming Commission has only approved and licensed to online poker operators – Real Gaming and the World Series of Poker (WSOP). That said there are no laws in Nevada that prohibit players from signing up at any offshore online gambling sites.
New Jersey Online Gambling Law
New Jersey’s online gambling journey has been a long one that bore fruit in January 2011. Then a bill was passed allowing online gambling by local residents 21 or older on casino sites solely hosted on servers kept on the actual premises of licensed Atlantic City land casinos.
However, concerned that the legislation – which allowed for gaming on any internet-enabled computer – might be used by commercial businesses such as internet cafes and nightclubs to become lucrative online gaming hotspots, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie quashed it.
To address Christie’s concerns, new legislation was drawn up prohibiting any NJ businesses other than land casinos in Atlantic City from advertising or offering online gaming facilities. As a result of the changes, the new bill was signed into law by Christie in February 2013.
This marked the start of New Jersey’s new legalised and regulated online gambling industry overseen by the New Jersey Gaming Commission. By the end of that same year, there were 9 licensed online casinos in operation.
To date the Garden State has 17 licensed casinos:
- 888 Casino (Caesars)
- Betfair (Golden Nugget)
- Borgata Casino (Borgata)
- Caesars Casino (Caesars)
- Golden Nugget Casino(Golden Nugget)
- Harrah’s Casino (Caesars)
- Mohegan Sun (Resorts)
- Pala Casino (Borgata)
- PartyPoker (Borgata)
- PokerStars (Resorts)
- PlayMGM (Borgata)
- Resorts (Resorts)
- Scores Casino (Borgata)
- SugarHouse (Golden Nugget)
- Tropicana Casino (Tropicana)
- Virgin Casino (Tropicana)
- WSOP.com (Caesars)
Delaware Online Gambling Law
The state of Delaware’s journey into the world of remote gambling was cemented in June 2012 when the Delaware Senate passed the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 (HB333). It was signed into law by Delaware Governor Jack Markell shortly thereafter.
The Act amended the Delaware’s existing gambling laws to allow the Delaware State Lottery to offer residents of the state certain online gambling platforms such as online casinos and poker rooms. It also makes allowances for interstate gaming via an interstate compact.
The compact opens the way for gamblers residing in other licensed and regulated US states (such as Nevada + New Jersey) to access any of Delaware’s three licensed online casinos – Delaware Park Online, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Online or Harrington Gaming Online.
To play at any of these casinos, players must be 21 or older and physically live in Delaware. The casinos check player IP addresses, so players residing outside the state cannot sign up. All land and online gambling matters are overseen by the Delaware State Lottery Office.