Legality of online gambling depends on a range of factors, from state laws and federal regulations. While federal law prohibits betting on sporting events or contests, individual states have more flexibility when it comes to authorizing or banning certain forms of online gambling activities, including poker or lottery. Although there remain some restrictions against it as more states legalize iGaming.
One key factor in deciding whether online gambling is legal is defining “gambling”. According to United States Code Title 18 Section 1084 (2000), gambling refers to wagering money or valuable items on an outcome of a contest of chance in hopes of winning prizes; this encompasses sports events as well as horse races and DFS (daily fantasy sports).
As gambling activities can range from sports betting to casinos and other virtual forms of gambling, most are illegal under federal law. However, virtual forms like online casinos tend to fall outside this scope since their activities take place offsite on remote servers rather than locally; making it harder for federal investigators to track players down for prosecution purposes.
New York is another state that allows online gambling, with sports betting beginning in January 2022 and online casinos soon after. Residents of New York can legally gamble online on sports, horses and Daily Fantasy Sports through various casinos; however, real-money poker and casino gaming remain off-limits in New York State.
Ohio residents can legally place bets on various sports events, with retail casinos and online casinos providing this service for Ohioans. Online poker and casino gaming, however, remain prohibited in Ohio.
Hawaii may not offer legal online casinos, but it does have several online sportsbooks and DFS operators as well as tribal casinos where residents may legally gamble in person. Unfortunately, unlike some other states, Hawaii is currently off limits for any form of online or social casino gambling; efforts have been made but have failed.