Why Do I Hear About a “Ban on Gambling” in the United States?

There are several bans on gambling within the United States, limiting the operations of both physical and online casino services. For instance, in the state of Utah, all gambling is illegal. In fact, the law is clear on the matter that it distinguishes the difference between lotteries, fringe gambling, and gambling.

On top of that, there are other laws elsewhere in the States that regulate legal age for gambling, have differing statures for taxation of gambling winnings, and more. Here’s a little breakdown of the most important points of gambling laws within the U.S.

US Gambling laws Utah

What’s this business about the state of Utah having a total ban on gambling?

Utah is a fundamentally Christian state, with an overwhelming percent of that Christian population being of the LDS denomination. While the state is not under Sharia law or anything that extreme, the voting population is heavily influenced by conservative viewpoints.

Gambling is illegal almost across the board in Utah. Besides a small number of small-stakes bingo halls confined to a part of the state, you won’t find anything you’d recognize as a legal gamble anywhere in Utah. You can’t play slot machines, bet on a game of blackjack, participate in a poker tournament, or buy a lottery ticket anywhere in the state.

Again, there’s no law against private or social gambling, but because of Utah’s tough anti-gaming laws, it is illegal in all forms. Where many states allow private gaming under certain circumstances, such as a legitimate social relationship between all players, Utah simply doesn’t allow it at all. People risking money privately in a poker game is still “the risking something of value in a contest,” which is illegal in Utah.

What was that about the law specifying types of gambling?

The Utah law has definitions available for what is and isn’t allowed in regards to gambling.

This term means any gambling, lottery or video game device that is:

  1. Provided by a business in exchange for a transaction of currency and given by chance, or;
  2. Given away as an incentive for purchase or by random purchase number lottery.
  3. Fringe-gambling does not include any promotional kind of lottery or game-of-chance, as long as it is clearly an infrequent and the base of the business’s operations. (Department)

What this means is that a company cannot exist for the sole purpose of providing “games of chance.” A business can, however, put a promotional period into effect involving a game of chance or lottery-style winnings.

  • Gambling-

Gambling is considered risking anything one owns of value for a return profit (like poker)or risking any valuable possession upon the outcome of a contest (like horse-racing). The stipulations are, an activity is illegal when it is:

  1. Based on an element of chance and there is an understanding that someone will receive a profit at the end of the event depending on the outcome.
  2. In this statute, gambling is separate from lotteries of fringe-gambling.

Gambling does not include things like a legitimate business transactions or playing an arcade game in which there is an instant right to play not exchangeable to another for anything worthwhile. Also, it is totally okay to play poker with some buddies in the privacy of someone’s home, just not at a business.

What about Online Gambling in Utah? Alternatively, anywhere in the US?

Unfortunately for those seeking the adrenaline of risking finances for-profit, online casinos are a no-go; if the individual in question lives anywhere in the United States, that is. There are several restrictions on online gambling, so those risk-takers out there are better off investing, it is totally legal and comes with the same risk!