Online Gambling in the US in 2021
Certainly, online gambling in the US is experiencing a Golden Age. New gambling sites near you are launching daily, it seems. Keeping track of it all can appear to be daunting. Yet, PlayingLegal provides you with expert insights into what states are legalizing online gambling and unbiased reviews.
Best of all, think of PlayingLegal as your one-stop shop for not just online casinos, sports betting, and poker reviews, but also resource guides on how to bet along with the best welcome bonus offers. Compare all the top online gambling sites in the US from top to bottom with our thorough reviews.
Best Gambling Sites in the US
Definitely, there is a growing trend for states to legalize online sports betting. In fact, in the vast majority of states that legalized sports betting, you can register completely online. Below, here are the best online sports betting sites available.
While there are only a handful of states that legalized online casinos, no doubt there are many options available. In fact, there is typically a rush of anticipation and excitement as states launch, or new operators enter an already existing market.
Online poker is now available in a few states. However, note that in most states, you can only play against other players within the state. In the future, states could enter into an interstate compact allowing players to play with others in different states. Below, here are the top online poker sites available.
Other Types of Legal Gambling
Notably, there are other types of legal online gambling than the options listed above. In fact, for many of the gaming sites below, there are fewer geographic restrictions. For example, DFS and online horse racing are available in the majority of states.
For example, make your sports picks on a sweepstakes mobile app called Fliff, which is available in all states.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Compete against others by putting together the best professional athletes in your team. Best of all, DFS is available in the majority of states. Remember that DFS competitions typically fall into two categories: cash games or guaranteed prize pool (GPPs). Finally, take note that most DFS contests have a salary cap where elite athletes cost the most.
Many states are now offering online lottery ticket sales. In fact, online lottery sales in the US are fast expanding. Offering more than just the traditional draw lottery games like Mega Millions and Powerball, there are other interactive games, with some states even offering Keno.
States that offer online lottery sales:
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
Betting on horses, known as the sport of kings, is legal in many states. Moreover, there are just a handful of states that do not allow online horse racing. The US Congress specifically passed the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA) back in 1978, which granted each state the responsibility of allowing horse racing gambling.
Several online casinos offer online bingo games. Notably, there is an increased number of players. However, this is not a negative as the jackpots of an online bingo game can be much higher than at a traditional physical bingo hall.
Is Online Gambling Legal in the US?
Online gambling is legal in the United States. Currently, the legal landscape is quickly changing as states legalize online gambling. Depending on your state, you may have an array of online gambling options.
Notably, here at PlayingLegal, we only review online gambling sites legal and licensed by each state regulatory agency. Although there are sites that advertise as accepting US players, it does not mean that it is a safe, legitimate, trustworthy, and most importantly, legal online gambling operator.
Where is Gambling Legal?
For more information about each state, click on the interactive map below. For states that offer more than one type of online gambling, explore specific state pages related to betting or casino games.
- Online casino, sports betting, and poker is legalized.
- Sports betting is legal.
- Awaiting further legislative action.
- Online gambling is illegal.
US Online Gambling Laws
As a brief recap, real-money online casinos started cropping up around the mid-1990s. Make no mistake; these were off-shore gambling sites based in countries like Isle of Man and Antigua.
Regulations were few and far between except, in Canada, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission set up by the tribal First Nations group issued licenses to the operators who wanted to accept American players.
By the time the millennium rolled around, federal legislators attempted to ban online gambling with the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. While this bill did not pass muster in the US Senate, more attempts followed to ban online gambling.
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
The US Congress passed the SAFE Port Act in Sept. 2006. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was included in the SAFE Port Act. Basically, any domestic banks were barred from processing any transactions related to online gambling.
While many online gambling sites withdrew voluntarily from accepting US customers, the industry continued expanding while skirting around the UIGEA.
Ultimately, what followed from the violation of UIGEA was the shutdown of the largest online poker rooms in the world.
April 15, 2011, will forever be known as Black Friday because of the government’s ban and FBI domain seizure of each online poker room. PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Ultimate Bet (along with the skin Absolute Poker) were shut out of the US market.
The Wire Act
The Federal Wire Act or the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 is a federal law that prohibits certain types of betting in the United States. Notably, in 2011, the US Department of Justice released a favorable legal opinion that limited the scope of the Act.
Therefore, the result was that states chose to either legalize certain forms of online gambling. In 2018, a new DOJ opinion reversed the previous favorable 2011 opinion, stating that the Wire Act applied to all gambling. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission filed suit along with amicae curiae (friendly briefs) from a host of other interested states.
Ultimately, the US District Court and First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the DOJ in favor of the states. Wire Act litigation may well end at this juncture.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) or the Bradley Act, outlawed sports betting across the nation, with a select few states. Yet, the United States Supreme Court overruled PASPA in a May 2018 decision Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.
This monumental decision not only paved the way for New Jersey to legalize online sports betting, but for other states as well.
Each state must pass the necessary legislation. Moreover, just because a state legislature passes a bill or bills to legalize online gambling does not mean that online gambling is now legal.
For example, certain states require a voter referendum before legalizing online gambling. Also, a state may choose for the lottery to regulate online gaming, like Tennessee. Finally, a state may choose to legalize sports betting but not offer online casinos or poker like Colorado. For more information, check our section above about where gambling is legal.
Gambling Tax Rate
Ultimately, there are two different taxes to think about when it comes to gambling winnings. First, there may be federal taxes subject to a 24% flat rate. The following table provides the winning threshold where the gambling operator or casinos supplies a Form W-2G.
|Federal Gambling Tax|
|$1,200||Slots or Bingo|
|$5,000+||Poker Tournaments (after buy-in)|
|$5,000+||Sweepstakes, Pools and Lotteries|
|Miscellaneous||Any other gaming subject to withholding|
Also, depending on your state, you may be subject to state taxes. However, there are some states where you do not pay taxes on gambling.
|States Without Gambling Income Tax|
For other states that require an additional state income tax on your gambling winnings, this amount is subject to each state’s laws. For example, each state sets its own regulations regarding lottery or sports betting if available. Moreover, even if you win out-of-state, you may still need to pay taxes on those winnings in that state. Most importantly, be sure to check your W-2G and check with a financial accountant on any potential tax obligations.
Legal Gambling Age
Specifically for online gambling, the minimum legal age requirement is 21 years old, except for online lottery, which is 18 years old. Note that certain states also allow online horse racing and online bingo for those 18 years old and older.
Additionally, tribal casinos that operate under state-specific compacts and Federal Indian Gaming Regulations allow for the legal gambling age to be 18 years. However, note that this is for in-person gambling only. Online gambling, which is typically regulated by the state, carries a minimum legal age requirement of 21 and old, except for the exceptions of online lottery, bingo and horse racing.
|States With 18+ In-Person Casinos|
Safe Depositing and Fast Withdrawals
Truly, one of the advantages of choosing to play on a legal and licensed online gambling site is the availability of fast and safe deposits and withdrawals. Below, here are a selection of the most widely accepted and popular deposit and withdrawal methods.
Mobile Gaming – Steppingstone for the Industry
Mobile gaming is exploding in the online gambling industry. In fact, more than 90% of sports bets placed are online. Therefore, gaming operators are focusing in on offering an excellent and seamless betting experience through mobile apps. Below, here are the top mobile gaming apps.
New US Gambling Sites
Online and mobile gambling operators are constantly launching as states approve licenses. Moreover, it even appears that many traditional brick-and-mortar casinos are moving towards offering their own iteration of online and mobile gaming.
Online Gambling FAQs
What are the best online gambling real money sites?
Overall, PlayingLegal compiled a list of the best online gambling real money sites. Ultimately, the perfect gambling experience depends on the individual. All our recommended sites are legal and licensed with expert-approved ratings on the welcome bonus, interface and more factors.
What are the best online gambling sites in the USA?
The best online gambling sites are legal and licensed. Here at PlayingLegal, access all the best online gambling sites that are 100% legal, licensed and regulated. Additionally, our expert ratings are unbiased and honest. Using a set of strict criteria, we rank welcome bonuses and the playing interfaces of each operator.
What are the best online gambling apps?
Truly, the best online gambling apps focus on a smooth playing experience. PlayingLegal ranks all the top online gambling apps that are legal and licensed. In addition, our rankings come with honest and unbiased reviews so that you can make the most informed choice on the best online gambling apps.
Where can I find legal online gambling sites?
Find all the best legal online gambling sites right here at PlayingLegal. Depending on the state, there may be legal online casinos, sports betting sites, poker, lottery, and more. Even if you are not located in states that offer online gambling, you can play on the sports betting sweepstakes platform called Fliff. Moreover, in most states, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites are legal.
Is there online gambling in California?
Legal online gambling is limited in the state of California. However, you can play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), and even sweepstakes sports bet legally on Fliff. Therefore, these options allow Californians to legally enjoy fantasy sports and sports bet for real money cash prizes. There is hope in the future that California will legalize sports betting but, it appears unlikely in the next few years.
Can you gamble online in the United States?
Yes, you can gamble online in the United States legally. Legal gambling online includes online casino games, online sports betting, online poker and even, online lottery. Most importantly, it depends on what state you are playing from.
Can you gamble online with real money?
Yes, you can gamble online with real money. In fact, depending on the state, you can legally play at online casinos, sportsbooks or poker sites. Best of all, each online gambling operator offers some type of welcome bonus, whether it is a deposit match, free spins or a no-deposit bonus.