Which US states currently allow gambling of any form

Which US states currently allow gambling of any form?

For a long time, only the state of Nevada (famously the resort of Las Vegas) and the resort of Atlantic City in New Jersey were the only places where you could gamble legally in the United States, however this has slowly been changing, with more and more states passing legislation to allow the activity.

In the United States there are different forms of gambling and different states only allow certain ones such as lotteries, sports betting, online wagering, racetrack and pari mutuel (pool betting) with some allowing one or more or in most cases, none at all.

Let’s take a look at some of the states where gambling is legal and what form of gambling is allowed in them.


Perhaps the most obvious American state which allows gambling, due to the booming city of Las Vegas, Nevada currently allows charitable, pari mutuel, commercial and tribal betting, while it has been legal to gamble there since March 1931 in a bid to help the state to recover from the Great Depression, brought on by the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Originally the state had always allowed gambling, however it was prohibited in 1909 due to Nevada receiving much ridicule from the rest of the United States. Since it was reintroduced to the state though, Nevada has gradually witnessed the biggest spike in its history, with gambling becoming one of the key entertainment businesses in the state, attracting millions of people every year.


Surprisingly, this state allows nearly every form of gambling, with the exception of tribal, which essentially refers to states which has native American Indian roots and is subsequently separate from government jurisdiction.

This means that as well as having physical casinos, they are also home to a number of online casinos, while residents can also participate in the highly lucrative sports betting market. Unusually however, Delaware also prohibits daily fantasy sports betting which was a micro niche that was created essentially as a loophole for most states to bypass actual sports betting legislation.


One from left field, though this is the only state in America which allows every form of gambling, after it became the 11th state to legalise sports betting in August 2019. Within the first month of this bill being passed, this market made $40 million in wagering, according to the Des Moines Register. While some of the state’s population made wagers in casinos and bookmakers (predominantly William Hill), the most popular format was via mobile and this trend has steadily started to increase in the months since.

New Jersey

Home to Atlantic City which many people who live in New York often frequent, New Jersey allows for every form of gambling apart from tribal and its most famous resort is the east coast’s version of Las Vegas, though on a smaller scale. Despite this, there is still a range of highly entertaining casinos and hotels, many of which are situated along the resort’s iconic boardwalk.

According to AP News in November, the gamblers wagered $293 million in August, assisted by sports betting, which was a 13 percent increase on the previous year.


Another state which also allows every form of gambling, with the exception of tribal, in the 2018-2019 financial year, according to Igaming Business state-wide gambling revenue totalled $3.29 billion. The vast majority of this came courtesy of sports betting however, after a bill was passed in 2017 to allow Pennsylvania residents to participate in sports wagering.


Interestingly almost every state in America allows for at least one form of gambling, with both Tennessee and South Carolina providing state lotteries. Apart from five states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Iowa and Nevada) online gambling is strictly prohibited, however a number of them are leaning quite heavily on the government to pass bills for this, with the aforementioned five experiencing considerable success in this market.

It is more than likely that the US gambling landscape will change over the coming years, with many European based operators already eyeing potentially lucrative opportunities there.

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