US Gambling Laws & Crypto Explained

Florida and Maine are the latest states to legalize sports betting. This brings the total number of states with legal sports gambling to 35. Seven of these jurisdictions also allow online casino games like slots, blackjack, and roulette.

Interestingly, only Nevada and New Jersey had commercial casinos 15 years ago. The US banned online gambling in 2006. In 2011, the government gave states the go-ahead to commercialize online casinos.

Sports betting was still illegal at the time. But NJ led the country in a court battle to legalize sports betting. The Supreme Court obliged in 2018. Against that backdrop, let’s take a closer look at US betting laws.

We’ll also outline what the laws say about the use of crypto in gambling. But if you’re in a hurry, you can learn more about crypto casinos through this guide prepared by Let’s get started.


Gambling is a Matter of State Concern

Beginning in 2018, US states have the leeway to legalize gambling as they wish. Some, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, permit almost all forms of betting. In these two states, you can wager on slot machines, roulette, or sports.

In Utah and Hawaii, gambling is not yet legal. In fact, these two states are against any form of betting. You can’t bet on horses, play bingo, or enjoy real money poker legally in Hawaii and Utah.

Now that states decide how to regulate gambling, laws vary greatly from place to place.  In some states, you can bet on sports at the age of 18 years and play bingo if you’re above 16 years. In other places, you need to be 21 or over to participate in any form of gambling.

In light of that information, learn about your state’s gaming laws before you indulge in gambling. Betting is a misdemeanor in most states where the act is illegal. However, running a casino or sportsbook illegally is a felony crime that could put you behind bars.



Let’s face it. The primary reason why states are legalizing gambling is to increase revenues. Most local governments incurred heavy financial losses when the pandemic hit.

At the time, states couldn’t generate income from land-based businesses. To solve them, many of them legalized the wildly lucrative online betting industry. This idea worked greatly.

In the past few years, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan have all generated over $1 billion in annual revenues through legal gambling. New York takes half of each gambling company’s gross income as tax.

By comparison, New Jersey taxes online gambling companies 15% while retail sportsbooks part for 8.5% of their income. Pennsylvania has a 36% tax rate for sportsbooks and a special 50% tax rate for slot machines.

In other words, taxes range from incredibly lucrative (New Jersey) to exorbitantly high (New York). And this doesn't just apply to operators. Gamblers must pay taxes in all states.

First, you must pay the federal tax (24%). Then you have to pay a state tax that ranges from 3% to 11%. In some states, your tax rate increases or reduces depending on your winnings.


Allowed Betting Markets

As mentioned, the majority of states in the US permit sports betting but not casino games. In 35 states, you can bet in person at a local sportsbook or you can wager through your smartphone.

Most states allow you to bet on almost every sport, from football and baseball to soccer and tennis. For clarity, you're not limited to popular US states. You can also wager on European soccer, Asian table tennis games, or field and track events.

The luckiest bunch of gamblers are people who live in states where mobile betting is allowed. No need to leave your house to bet on NFL or college sports. You can place your wagers conveniently at home.

States that allow online casino games generally accept both slots and table games. Nevada is the only exception. Perhaps to avoid unnecessary competition with its land-based casinos, the Desert State prohibits most casino games.

Yes, you can bet on online poker legally in Nevada. But you can't wager on slot machines, roulette, blackjack or craps. For clarity, NJ permits all these games even though it also features brick-and-mortar casinos.


Payments and Crypto

Now that gambling is legal in 30+ states, depositing money in an online casino is straightforward. Banks and card companies no longer turn you down if you attempt to send money to a gambling business.

That said, payment options vary from one gambling establishment to another. Some casinos accept ACH payments, credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and electronic checks. Others will also take Bitcoin and gift vouchers.

There are benefits and drawbacks to every payment option highlighted above. A bank transfer is great for sending or receiving large amounts of money. But it's also slow.

PayPal, Apple Pay, and GPay provide speed and convenience. But they have low limits. Bitcoin offers a blend of everything. It is fast, cheap, secure, and can handle huge limits. Its only drawback is that you need a small learning curve to figure it out.


Security and Privacy

The gambling industry is highly regulated to ensure it safeguards the security and privacy of its customers. By law, all casinos and sportsbooks in the country need a license. Operators acquire licenses from individual states.

Each gambling company also needs to handle customers’ data with privacy. In fact, they must ask for consent to collect most forms of information. For online gambling sites, a secure website is compulsory. And so is the need to protect player’s funds.

Although gaming companies must protect your privacy, they're also required to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) rules. That's why you need to provide your ID, home address, and other details when gambling online.


In Conclusion

Although some people would wish the government legalized gambling at a Federal level, this dream is yet to come true. For now, gambling in the US is controlled by states.

More than 30 states permit more forms of betting. Seven states also allow online casino gaming. Casinos and sportsbooks in the US are generally safe and convenient. But always do due diligence to find the right operator for you.