While online sports betting is now legal in upwards of 30-plus states across the United States, online casino gambling has progressed much more slowly. As the online gaming industry continues to mature, more and more states are considering adding online table games and slot machines to their lists of legal gambling options. Here’s everything you need to know about is online slot gambling legal, including whether or not the activity is permitted in your state.
The New York legislature is currently considering a bill that would legalize New York-based casinos and allow for the expansion of online gambling in the Big Apple. Currently, New Yorkers have to travel to nearby state lines to gamble legally in casinos and other venues that offer gambling. The proposed bill would cut that distance from just a few miles to less than a mile. It would also remove the age requirement of 21 and make gambling available to more New York residents, including teenagers.
Online casino gaming has been a relatively slow process for regulators, but that is starting to change as more states come on board with iGaming. New Jersey was one of the first to open its doors for iGaming back in 2012, with wagers being placed online in 2013. Michigan followed suit, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signaled that online casino play is on the horizon in the Wolverine State as well.
In addition to being safe, regulated online gambling is a great way to support local communities. When you place bets at a regulated casino site, your money is taxed by the state and put into the local community in the form of education, crime prevention, healthcare and food banks.
Another reason why it’s important to go with a regulated online casino is that if you run into any issues while playing, the state will be able to step in and assist you. In contrast, you can’t get that same kind of help if you play at an unregulated online casino that is located offshore.
There are some states that still haven’t fully embraced the concept of legal online gambling, with Hawaii and Utah among them. However, most of these states haven’t made it a felony to gamble, and even in those that do, the maximum penalty is usually just a misdemeanor.
For example, in Iowa, Montana and Washington, the penalty for illegal gambling is a misdemeanor, while in Alaska and Arkansas it’s a petty offense that doesn’t even merit a court date. In the case of Hawaii, though, it’s a flat-out felony to gamble, and violators face up to two years in jail. The Aloha State has recently passed legislation that will legalize sports betting, but it’s unclear if the same lawmaker will push for an extension to include online casinos. The state’s four native tribes could partner with retailers to offer sports betting, but it may take awhile before that happens. In the meantime, residents can enjoy social casinos that operate outside of the state’s borders.