Which US States Have Regulated Online Casinos?

US States: Regulated Online Casinos
OCS Guide: US States: Regulated Online Casinos

States With Online Casino Regulations

Ah, the world of online gambling. A passion of mine that has kept me engaged for almost three decades. As a blackjack player for 28 years and an online casino reviewer for 23 of those, I’ve seen it all. Regulations, changes, ups, downs, and the sheer excitement that only a turn of a card can bring. Allow me to guide you through the ever-changing landscape of online gambling in the United States and introduce the my recommended US online casinos.

The Patchwork of Legislation

Regulation in the U.S. is an intricate tapestry, woven by countless lawmakers, court rulings, and ever-evolving public opinions.

The Federal Level

First and foremost, let’s take a peek at the federal level. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 shook the very foundation of online gambling in the U.S. It outlawed payment processing for illegal online gambling, but it did not define what constituted illegal gambling. Confusion, right? This left the decision to the states.

States Taking the Reins

And the states took that decision and ran with it. Or in some cases, they tiptoed. It’s a puzzle, you see. Let’s dig into the pieces.

New Jersey

New Jersey. The gleaming beacon of online gambling regulation. As of 2013, online casinos were legal, and the Garden State has since become a shining example for others. Find a list of reviews NJ online casinos on Online Casino Suite (OCS).


Next, we wander to Pennsylvania. 2017 marked the year that the Keystone State opened its doors to online casinos. A strong player in the field, no doubt.


Michigan joined the fray in 2019. A sign of momentum, perhaps? I’ve watched this state’s online casino scene blossom, and the future seems bright.

Nevada, Delaware, and West Virginia

Nevada. Delaware. West Virginia. All have put their stamp on the online casino map, each in their unique ways. Nevada, naturally, focused on online poker. Delaware jumped into the full casino experience, and West Virginia followed suit.

Other States

What about the others? They are like dormant volcanoes, some showing signs of life, others eerily quiet. California, New York, Massachusetts. Talk, debate, but no decisions. It’s a dance that I’ve observed with fascination, frustration, and a touch of impatience.

The Future

The road ahead? It’s twisted, turning, and difficult to see far. But momentum is a curious thing. Illinois, Ohio, others. Conversations are happening, legislation is being penned. Could we see a wave of change? Maybe. Maybe not. Time, as they say, will tell.

US Online Casino lobby
US Online Casino lobby – Original AI Art by Benjamin Ogden.

Free Sweepstakes Casinos: The Alternative Landscape

In the ever-changing topography of online gambling, an intriguing alternative to real money casinos has emerged: Free Sweepstakes Casinos. For those unfamiliar, these unique platforms operate within a legal grey area, offering players the opportunity to engage in casino-like games without the direct exchange of real money.

Free Sweepstakes Casinos have unlocked doors in places where traditional online casinos haven’t yet set foot. They offer an intriguing blend of excitement and opportunity, using a unique model that’s both legal and widely accessible.

How Do They Work?

These casinos operate on a sweepstakes model, where players purchase virtual currency (usually called “Gold Coins”) that can be used for play. Along with these Gold Coins, players are gifted “Sweeps Coins,” which can be used to play sweepstakes games. These Sweeps Coins can then be redeemed for real prizes or cash.

Intrigued? I was too. It’s a model that has allowed these platforms to dodge the restrictions that tie down traditional online casinos.

Where Are Sweepstakes Casinos Allowed?

Here’s the truly fascinating part: Free Sweepstakes Casinos are available in 49 states, including Washington, D.C. Yes, you read that correctly. Every state except Washington allows for this alternative form of online gaming.

  • Allowed States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.
  • Not Allowed: Washington

Sweepstakes Casinos: A Valuable Option

Free Sweepstakes Casinos have become a notable alternative to real money online casinos, particularly in states that have not yet embraced traditional online gambling regulation. Their unique approach appeals to players looking for legal options and provides a creative and exciting way to enjoy the casino experience from the comfort of home.

I’ve ventured into these virtual gaming halls, and the excitement is palpable. Whether a temporary fix for those awaiting regulation in their state or a long-term solution for others, Free Sweepstakes Casinos are a fascinating twist in the ever-enthralling world of online gaming.

And as always, fellow players, remember to gamble responsibly. Even in the virtual world, the thrill of the game can carry you away. Stay grounded, and enjoy the ride.


The map of online casino regulation in the U.S. is a living, breathing entity. It’s colorful and inconsistent, brimming with history, controversy, and promise.

I’ve seen cards dealt, wheels spun, and dice thrown in countless variations. Yet, the game of regulation proves to be the most intriguing of them all.

Stay with me, fellow gamblers. It’s a fascinating ride, filled with surprises at every turn, much like a blackjack game where the next hand is unknown, thrilling, and full of potential.

And remember, as the winds of regulation shift, I’ll be here, watching, playing, and guiding you through the game that never ends.

US Online Casino Regulation FAQs

  1. Q: How do Free Sweepstakes Casinos operate legally?
    A: They use a unique model where players purchase virtual currency and are gifted sweepstakes entries (Sweeps Coins) that can be redeemed for prizes or cash.
  2. Q: Can I win real money at Free Sweepstakes Casinos?
    A: Yes, through the sweepstakes model, players can win and redeem real prizes or cash.
  3. Q: Are online casinos legal in California?
    A: As of now, traditional online casinos are not regulated in California, but Free Sweepstakes Casinos are available.
  4. Q: When did Pennsylvania start allowing online casinos?
    A: Pennsylvania began allowing online casinos in 2017.
  5. Q: What are the differences between real money online casinos and Free Sweepstakes Casinos?
    A: Real money online casinos involve direct wagering of real money, while Free Sweepstakes Casinos operate on a sweepstakes model where real money is not directly wagered on games.
  6. Q: Where can I find updates on online casino legislation?
    A: Staying updated through reputable gambling news sources, legislative websites, or following industry experts like me can provide ongoing information on changes in legislation.
  7. Q: What types of games can I play at Free Sweepstakes Casinos?
    A: Free Sweepstakes Casinos offer a variety of casino-like games, such as slots, table games, and poker, similar to traditional online casinos.

Online gambling is entertainment only and not a good way to make money online.

Ages 21+: Play responsibly and enjoy your gaming experience!

About the Author:

Benjamin Ogden

OnlineCasino.AI founder, Benjamin Ogden, is a world-class casino gaming expert with 28 years of experience playing blackjack and other casino games. With 23 years of experience reviewing online casinos, Benjamin’s mission is to create a comprehensive guide to trusted casinos and sportsbooks worldwide that educates and informs gamblers with need to know gambling information.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top