US States With Fewer Gambling Restrictions

Discover the US states with fewer restrictions on gambling and online betting. From Nevada to Michigan, explore the evolving legal landscape of sports betting and online casinos in the United States.

The gaming industry has evolved, with casinos spread worldwide. The United States, in particular, has some regulations that only some people know about. The introduction of online gaming, moving from land-based casinos, has led to several amendments in the US legal system. 

In 2018, the Supreme Court made amendments in favor of the in-state legalization of sports betting. This decision wreaked havoc in the gambling industry as several casino owners battled for a share of gamblers in their respective jurisdictions. States are now capable of determining and implementing their gambling laws. But which states have allowed this, and where is it legal to play online poker in the US?

Some US states have fewer gambling restrictions than others. For example, Michigan, Maine, Mississippi, Colorado, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Iowa allow online and in-person sports betting. However, some states have stricter laws around gambling. Utah and Hawaii do not have any casinos, and social gambling is not legal. Florida, Nebraska, and Ohio have legalized sports betting, but the market must still be operational.

Map of the United States showing the legal status of gambling in each state. States where gambling is legal are highlighted in bright red, states where the legality is pending are in light red, while states where it is illegal or no-legislation states are highlighted in nuances of grey.
Map of US states highlighting the legal status of sports betting

Let’s take a trip across the states and find out first the situation of legal sports betting by state. While sports betting is prohibited in some states, in others, the activity has been thriving for decades. According to the American Gaming Association, the following table provides the information needed to navigate the complex legal landscape of sports betting in the United States.

US StateActivityMinimum Age
ArizonaLegal, currently active21+
ArkansasLegal, currently active21+
ColoradoLegal, currently active21+
ConnecticutLegal, currently active21+
DelawareLegal, currently active21+
FloridaLegalized, not active21+
IllinoisLegal, currently active21+
IndianaLegal, currently active21+
IowaLegal, currently active21+
KansasLegal, currently active21+
LouisianaLegal, currently active21+
MaineLegalized, not active21+
MarylandLegal, currently active21+
MassachusettsLegal, currently active21+
MichiganLegal, currently active21+
MississippiLegal, currently active21+
MontanaLegal, currently active18+
NebraskaLegalized, not active21+
NevadaLegal, currently active21+
New HampshireLegal, currently active18+
New JerseyLegal, currently active21+
New MexicoLegal, currently active21+
New YorkLegal, currently active21+*
North CarolinaLegal, currently active21+
North DakotaLegal, currently active21+
OhioLegal, currently active21+
OregonLegal, Currently active21+
PennsylvaniaLegal, Currently active21+
Rhode IslandLegal, Currently active18+
South CarolinaPending
South DakotaLegal, Currently active21+
TennesseeLegal, Currently active21+
VirginiaLegal, Currently active21+
WashingtonLegal, Currently active18+
West VirginiaLegal, Currently active21+
WisconsinLegal, Currently active21+
WyomingLegal, Currently active18+


The state of Nevada is home to Las Vegas, popularly known as Sin City, which is the capital of gambling in the US. Nevada is a mature gambling state that has existed for decades. They have experience running the industry, and their laws are very pro-gambling.

Las Vegas allows players to access a vast library of games, from online poker to slots. This wide acceptance of all sorts of legal gambling has made it a go-to gambling destination in the United States. With new types of games being developed specifically to target millennials, the market for online casinos has increased, and we can only expect more online casino platforms to be created in this state.


Almost five years ago, Delaware offered single betting or betting on just one outcome, be it win or lose, on several different sports. This was the beginning of the evolution of the state and its acceptance of regulated gambling. Players living in this state now have access to unlimited games, both online and in land-based casinos.

The state’s gambling authorization happened less than a month after the supreme court’s ruling that revoked the Nevada monopoly of legal sports betting. This made it the perfect place to participate in online casino games as well as in all other sports betting. However, betting on state college teams is prohibited.

New Jersey

Hotel and Casino Hard Rock in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey

In June 2018, the governor at the time signed a bill that had been passed the previous week, allowing legislation for gambling in the state. This led to the opening of other betting companies in the state that allowed in-person and mobile betting. You can now bet on and play online casino games in this jurisdiction. The only prohibition is betting on state college games and collegiate events held in the state.


The state of Michigan has no notable prohibitions on betting. As of December 2019, the state enacted a new law allowing sports betting. It started with in-person betting and later on adopted online betting. You can now place your bets and play your favorite games in the comfort of your home. Furthermore, you can also participate in online poker tournaments and get the chance to win great prizes.

Wrapping Up

Online gambling and online betting stormed the US market by surprise. This brought about the need to amend betting laws to cope with this and regulate the increasing number of casinos. As more states are passing laws to legalize different types of gambling, we expect that the US will soon be the global leader in legal betting.