states where gambling is illegal
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 Rolling the Dice: Exploring Some of the States Where Gambling is Illegal

In the US, there are three different levels of gambling legislation. First, there are federal laws, like the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), that place restrictions on how Americans can transact with gambling sites. Then there is state law, which is arguably the most divisive area of the law for gamblers. These are fifty different rules and laws, depending solely on which set of geographical boundaries you are gambling within. Municipal and county laws are lower on the totem pole. They are not as problematic for gamblers as federal or state laws. However, they are still an issue in some regions of the nation.

 

States Where Gambling Is Illegal And May Never Be Legalized

 

While many states have adopted and legalized gambling, there are still some states where it is illegal. Some of the states where gambling is illegal are:

 

  1.     Utah: A state with a total ban
  • Social Gambling: Illegal
  • Online Gambling: Illegal
  • DFS Bets: Illegal

In Utah, gambling is illegal everywhere. While you may have all the skill on how to win at the casino you can’t enjoy while here. Not even from your home. Utah is one of the few states with a specific law prohibiting Internet gambling. It has also made the unusual decision to decline any potential legalization of gambling at the federal level. State legislators are so terrified of the potential for gaming that they have taken preemptive action against some fictitious future federal policy.

One frequently cited factor is that just under 70% of people in the state identify as Mormon. But while some people try to figure out why Utah is among the few states that may not legalize gambling, others think about the financial toll this obstinate stance has taken.

Observers claim that Utah may be losing millions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of its prohibition on all forms of betting within its borders.

It does seem like a no-brainer considering the state’s estimated 3.5 million population. Revenue from gambling could fill state coffers with money that would benefit the community. But the Utah legislature isn’t prepared to adapt.

You essentially have to drive 90 minutes to Nevada to gamble if you live in Utah or are visiting there.

 

  1.     Hawaii: No physical casino

    states where gambling is illegal
    states where gambling is illegal
  • Social Gambling: Illegal
  • DFS Bets: Illegal
  • Online Gambling: Not Specified

Fantasy is the only option for anyone who wants to visit Hawaii’s casinos. Both visitors and residents lack access to land-based gaming establishments. Anyone who lives on the archipelago must either leave the state or find the best online casino to satisfy their urge for entertainment. This is probably the state that hurts the most out of the ones that forbid gambling.

And not just the travelers. Local communities in Hawaii would greatly benefit from the tax revenue that would be generated if gambling was legalized there. It is still one of only two states, along with Utah, whose state constitution does not permit any type of legal gambling.

Hawaiian legislators rejected legislation in 2022 that sought to legalize casinos, lotteries, and sports betting. The state has continued to take a phlegmatic approach to gambling for many years.

Some people had hoped that the 1992 federal law banning sports betting would be overturned by the US Supreme Court. However, here we are in 2023, with barely any movement in the opposite direction.

 

  1.     Georgia: All forms of gambling may be outlawed
  • Social Gambling: Illegal
  • DFS Bets: Illegal
  • Online Gambling: Not Specified

The gambling law in Georgia embodies how the Deep South feels about gambling in general. They don’t like it. They don’t seem like they will like it in the future, and they don’t intend to do much about it. The only legal gambling establishment in the state is a tiny “casino cruise” with a handful of gaming machines, a tiny sportsbook, a few tables, and a bar. Recently, Georgia lawmakers moved to include daily fantasy sports wagers in the state’s expansive definition of gambling. This signals their intent to outlaw all forms of online gambling.

 

  1.     Texas: Forget about online gambling here
  • Social Gambling: Legal
  • DFS Bets: Illegal
  • Online Gambling: Illegal

It is unlawful for Texas, a sizable and densely populated state, to have only one tawdry tribal casino. It is true that most games can be played privately at home and that “game rooms” with slots and electronic models of table games exist. However, it appears likely that the state will now forbid all web-based betting given that DFS betting has been made illegal by lawmakers. The sheer impossibility of significant changes to the state’s restrictive stance on gambling in the near future is among the reasons Texas made the list.

 

Will Gambling Ever Be Legalized in These States?

states where gambling is illegal
states where gambling is illegal

It takes a time machine to provide a definitive answer to that question. The likelihood of these states relaxing their laws around gambling appears to be at least reasonable. If you stay in these states, just keep learning how to count cards and other casino skills. You never know what the future holds. However, what “relaxed” means in a particular context when people gamble differently is a little hazy. For instance, compared to Hawaii opening a casino on its islands, even the smallest change to Utah’s gambling laws would seem seismic.

Within the next ten years, it is highly likely that online gambling won’t be permitted in some states. Others, however, might adopt a more creative strategy and conduct a trial run before “pulling a 180.” This is currently speculative. Who knows what could occur?

On the other hand, perhaps there will be another redesign of the gambling sector in the US in the future.

Probably, these states will strengthen their hardline stances as they come to appreciate their position as regions opposed to the practice. Perhaps this will put other forms of entertainment in the sights of puritans and lawmakers.

 

Conclusion on States Where Gambling is Illegal

 

While it is true that some of these states where gambling is illegal will ease some of the restrictions, there is still no sign that centralized regulation and rules are being planned. Even reputable operators have lost interest in the aforementioned US territories. However, time will tell if this is for the better or not. Given that some forms of gambling are still considered serious crimes in these states’ criminal codes, this comes as no surprise.

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